Your Guide to Effortless Public Transport in Amsterdam

Exploring Amsterdam’s intriguing corners is a breeze thanks to its comprehensive public transport system. Whether you’re gliding over canals on a ferry, zipping through underground metro tunnels, or hopping on a tram to the next exciting stop, the city’s transport network has you covered. And now, with the introduction of credit card payments, getting around has never been easier for visitors. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:

Modes of Transit:

  • Trams, Buses, and Metros: A trio offering widespread coverage across the city. The metro might be an underdog, but it’s a reliable choice to dodge the crowds and get to your destination swiftly.
  • Trains: Perfect for broader explorations or airport transits. Amsterdam Central Station is your gateway to the rest of the Netherlands.
  • Ferries: Free of charge and departing from several locations, with the Central Station being a prime boarding point. They offer a unique vantage point to admire the city from the water.

Ways to pay:

Credit/Debit Card Payments: This is the most convenient way if you are a visitor and have the appropriate card.

For visitors, using your Mastercard/Visa credit or debit card on the card reader is the easiest method of payment.  Here is what you need to know:

  1. Tap In and Out: Always tap your card when entering AND exiting to ensure you’re charged the correct fare for the length of travel. Forget to tap out and you’ll be charged the maximum fare for the route.
  2. Check Card Fees: If you’re visiting from outside the EU, check with your card issuer about foreign transaction fees.
  3. Consider Fee-free Cards:
    • UK: Look into Monzo, Starling, or Revolut cards which offer zero foreign transaction fees and good exchange rates
    • Canada/US: A “Wise” card could be your go-to for fee-free transactions in the EU. 
    • Links and info to get these cards are coming in our next article.
  4. Utilize OVPay App:
    • Download the app here.
    • Add your card after the first transit transaction.
    • Track your trips, and amend any missed tap-outs.

Where there are no gates, make sure to find one of these and tap out.


Still a solid choice especially for longer stays or frequent visitors. Choose from Disposable, Anonymous(visitor), or Personal(resident) OV-Chipkaart based on your stay duration and privacy preference.

Card TypeBest ForCost (€)Where to Buy
DisposableShort-term visitors.€9 – €41 (1-7 days)Online, GVB Offices, Ticket Machines, NS Stations.
AnonymousFrequent visitors, extensive travellers on Dutch public transport.€7.50 (card) + Credit loadNS Stations, GVB Offices, RET, HTM, U-OV Offices, Newsagents, Supermarkets.
PersonalResidents, eligible for discounts, monthly passes, automatic top-ups.€7.50Online at, Some transport providers via paper application.

More Details:

  • Disposable OV-Chipkaart: Ideal for short visits with options like 1-hour ticket to multi-day tickets (1 to 7 days).
  • Anonymous (visitor) OV-Chipkaart: A plastic card valid for 4-5 years.  Top-up and don’t worry about tickets.  Pay for the trips you make.
  • Personal (resident) OV-Chipkaart: For Dutch residents, allows auto top-up from Dutch bank account and is linkable to various discount and monthly pass options.

Whether you’re a one-time visitor or a frequent traveler to Amsterdam, understanding the blend of traditional OV-Chipkaart options and the modern, convenient credit/debit card payment method will ensure a smooth transit experience as you delve into the city’s enchanting ambiance.

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