Contactless & Capping FAQs

How does Contactless capping work on Lothian city services?

Paying by contactless is easy!  All you need to do is:

  • tap your card or device on the card reader
  • wait for the positive beep and green lights
  • take a seat!

How does Contactless work on Airlink, Skylink, East Coast Buses and Lothian Country services?

Because these services have more than one Adult Single fare, the process is a little different:

  • Tell the driver your destination, and that you’d like to pay by contactless
  • tap your card or device on the card reader
  • wait for the beep and take the printed ticket

How much will I pay?

There’s no need to choose what ticket to purchase, just tap your contactless card or device every time you need to travel and we’ll automatically charge you the cheapest fare for the journeys you’ve made on that day.

For example:

Lothian city services 1 tap £1.80
3 or more taps £4.40

This means that we’ll charge you a Single Ticket fare until your total daily spend reaches the price of a Day Ticket – we’ll never charge you more that the price of that Day Ticket. Capping also applies to our NightBuses.

If you use a Mastercard, your bank statement may show a “pending” or “reserved” charge for your first tap. The amount will vary according to the card type and where the card was issued: UK Mastercard £0.10; International Mastercard £1.00; Maestro cards £20.00. This is a temporary amount; your bank statement will update to show the correct amount within a few days when your actual daily travel charge has been calculated and settled.

Daily capping is applied to the card or device used, so please continue to use the same contactless card or device for the rest of that day.  If you swap between different payment cards or devices, your payments will not be capped.  For example, if you use both a contactless card and a phone to pay for travel in the same day, your payments will not be capped (even if they’re funded by the same bank account).

How can I check my payment and journey history?

You can view your journeys and payments made during the previous 7 days by entering your payment card details here.

If you can’t see a journey, please check again later – it maybe that the tap has not had an opportunity to be sent from the bus. If you use Apple Pay or Google Pay you cannot currently view your payments using our portal, but we are working on providing this functionality in a future update. In the meantime, you can view your payments on your bank statement, or by viewing the transaction history in the Apple Pay or Google Pay app.

Please be aware that the date your payment appears on your bank statement will not be the same as the date you travelled. We request the funds for journeys made using contactless cards or devices in the early hours of the following morning, which means that the payment may not show immediately in your account – it can take a couple of working days. Depending on your bank, you may see a “pending payment” on your bank statement.

Multiple payments may be debited from your bank account on the same day; most customers who travel on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday will experience this if their bank doesn’t process payments over the weekend.

Which contactless cards are accepted?

If your card was issued in the UK on Visa or MasterCard and displays the contactless payment symbol, you should be able to travel on our services using contactless.

You can’t use your payment card to travel on our services if it does not display the contactless symbol or your card issuer has not advised you that it can be used for contactless payments.

American Express contactless payment cards are not accepted.

Pre-paid cards

If you have a pre-paid card, it may be accepted for travel on our services if you have enough credit on it before boarding. Contact your card issuer for more information.

Joint accounts

If you have a joint account and both cards have a unique 16 digit card number you can both use your own contactless payment cards to travel at the same time; each card will be charged separately.  If you have a joint account and both cards have the same number and expiry date, only one card can be used for travel.

Non-UK contactless cards

Nearly all MasterCard and Maestro contactless payment cards issued outside the UK are accepted. Please be aware that overseas transaction fees or charges may apply for travel made with a card issued outside the UK – please check with your card issuer.

Some Visa and V PAY contactless payment cards issued from countries outside the UK are not accepted.

Why has my card not worked on the bus?

If you see a red light on the card reader and hear a negative beep, your card has not been accepted for travel and you will need to find another way to pay for your journey.

Our driver will not know why your card or device has not been accepted as there are many possible reasons for this, including:

  • Your bank hasn’t approved the transaction.
  • The card has expired.
  • The card is not contactless enabled (look for the logo).
  • The card is not accepted. We are unable to accept payments by American Express and some contactless payment cards issued outside the UK are also not accepted.
  • The card has not had a chip and PIN transaction for a period of time.
  • You’ve got a new or replacement contactless card and have not yet used it for a chip and PIN transaction. Most new or replacement contactless cards won’t allow contactless payments until a chip & PIN transaction has been completed first.
  • If you touch your purse or wallet containing more than one contactless payment card (including a Ridacard) on a reader you could be affected by cards clashing. This is when the reader doesn’t know which card to take the payment from.
  • Your mobile device has not been set up correctly to use Apple Pay or Android Pay, or you are not using the apps to support the payment properly. For devices using Apple Pay, help can be found on Apple’s website.  For devices using Google Pay, help can be found on Google’s website.
  • There’s an outstanding balance due. Please enter your details here to find out if a balance is still outstanding and learn how to re-enable your card or device.
  • The card is damaged and cannot be read by the card reader.

If the driver asks me to change bus during a journey, do I tap again?

Sometimes a driver may ask you to move to a replacement bus during a journey. If this happens, please do not tap your contactless card or device on the replacement bus.  Should an inspector board, they will be made aware that the vehicle has been replaced.

Can I pay for other passengers using my contactless card?

Yes, if you’re travelling with other people and want to buy paper tickets using contactless then please ask the driver for the tickets you require and indicate that you wish to pay by contactless. The driver will prompt you when to tap your card and, if the transaction is approved, your tickets will be printed along with a receipt.

Remember that capping cannot be applied to any tickets purchased in this way.

What about contactless capping on other Lothian services?

Daily capping is available on all of our services.

Simply travel on Lothian City, Airlink, Skylink, East Coast Buses and Lothian Country services as and when you need to, day or night, – we’ll always work out and automatically charge you the cheapest fare for your journeys.

Daily capping is not currently available on Edinburgh Trams.