Contactless FAQs

Contactless is a quick, easy and secure way to pay for your bus travel. Contactless payments can be made for any ticket up to the value of £100.
Instead of paying with cash, you can pay with contactless by placing your credit or debit card on the reader of the ticket machine. We also accept contactless payments on smart devices via Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Do I still need a ticket if I pay with contactless?

Yes. We’re launching contactless payment as an alternative way to pay for your journeys. Tickets will still be provided and will also act as your payment receipt.

Which tickets can I buy with contactless?

You can buy any single or day tickets in any of our network Zones, including the City Hopper, Chepstow Races tickets, Network Rider, Monweek, up to the value of £100.
Here how it works:

Infographic showing how to put your bank card on the reader

Can I top up my Passport / Bamboo / Freedom card using contactless?

Yes, you can top up your Passport and Bamboo card and add money onto your Freedom Card (£30.00 max).

You can top up your Passport card for multiple months or weeks before it expires as the new time will be added once the valid month or week expires. 

or the annual top-ups for Youth and Bamboo card, you will need to visit the travel centre at the bus station or the head office (depot) on Corporation Road. 
Here is how to top-up with contactless on the bus:

Infographic showing how to top up your passport card with contactless

How does the QR code on the ticket work?

City Day and City Day Plus tickets will be printed with a QR code. QR Code on a bus ticket

If you are using the same ticket for travel later on in the day, you will need to scan the QR code on the ticket machine reader when you board the bus for every other journey made on the day of purchase.
This is so we can ensure that your ticket is valid at the point you are boarding the bus, and enables us to monitor the number of people on the bus.
To scan the QR code, place your ticket facing upwards on the card reader.

Will I get a receipt if I pay with contactless?

Yes, the ticket produced will act as your receipt.

Can I pay part cash part contactless on the bus?

You are unable to pay part cash part contactless on board the bus.

How do I know if my card has contactless?

Look for the contactless symbol on your bank debit or credit card. Most new cards will come with this facility available but if you’re unsure, check with your bank or card issuer.

Which contactless cards can I use?

All Visa, Mastercard credit and debit cards with the contactless symbol can be used. Pre-paid contactless payment cards can also be used, but please make sure you have enough credit on them before boarding. Payments can also be made using a smart device via Apple Pay or Android Pay.

Can I use a contactless enabled device other than a credit or debit card?

We are able to accept payments on smartphones and smartwatches using Apple Pay and Android Pay as well as contactless enabled wearables such as wristbands and key fobs.

How close do I have to be to the contactless reader?

You can place your card or smart device on or just above the ticket machine reader. Please only do this once you have told the driver which ticket you would like.

What happens if I present more than one card to the reader at the same time?

If the machine detects more than one card it will beep and tell the driver that more than one card has been detected. You’ll then be asked to present only one card. If you have a valid key card or concessionary travel card in the same holder as your contactless card, the ticket machine will read the key card or concessionary card first.

Why is the limit set to £100?

Visa and Mastercard have set the national limit for contactless payments in the UK to £100 and therefore we are not able to process contactless payments over this value.

How do I know if my payment has gone through?

On our new ticket machines, a successful payment screen is shown on the driver screen, and a ticket is printed. If the payment is unsuccessful there will be a message on the screen and no ticket will be printed.

Can I use my contactless card to make more than one payment?

Yes, your card can be used more than once. If you need to buy different types of tickets you can add these together and pay for them in a single transaction, as you would with cash. If you want to buy several tickets that add up to more than the £100 limit, you can buy these separately using your card for each transaction.

Is my contactless payment safe?

Our systems and equipment are tested and certified to comply with all payment card scheme data security standards. Contactless payment cards are safe and secure and have the same level of protection as Chip & PIN payments, so you can feel confident when using one to pay for your travel.
During a contactless payment transaction, only minimal information is sent to us, and no information about your card account or personal data is displayed to the driver or our customer services and finance team. We regularly check with card issuers to make sure that your card hasn’t been reported as lost or stolen. If it has, you’re protected against fraud loss as long as you report it to your bank or issuer as soon as possible.

What if my payment does not work?

There are a few reasons why a card may not work when presented for travel. If this happens your driver will ask you to try another card, or to pay using cash.
Unfortunately, we will not always know the reason for a card not being accepted. Depending on the reason for the decline, you may need to contact your card issuer to be able to use the same payment card for travel on our services again. There are a number of reasons why a card issuer will decline payment and only the card issuer will know the specific reason.

I have bought the wrong ticket - can I get a refund?

Our drivers will be able to refund a ticket if this is brought to their attention immediately after purchase. Unlike other retail terminals, the ticket sale is recorded and stays on the ticket machine only for a short period of time; after this time the ticket sale is not available for refund. If your transaction is not on the driver's list, they can’t refund you. Our drivers can’t refund a card payment with cash. However, they will issue you a voucher ticket that you will need to take to the Travel Centre for the refund to be given.

If I have less balance than the bus fare on my card or in my bank account, can my account go overdrawn?

Yes, you can go overdrawn – this is the same as when using a contactless card in a shop. It’s important that you understand that going overdrawn could result in you incurring bank charges such as overdraft fees. For more information, please check with your bank.

Who should I contact if there is a problem with my payment?

If you think your card should have been accepted for travel and it was refused, please contact our customer services team at the head office in Corporation Road between 09:00 - 17:00 Monday to Friday.