One single nationwide travel and payment system – for all local, regional and national public transport in the Netherlands.


Prime domain(s)
Rail, Mobility


Prime theme(s)
Sensitivity for governance, Urban mobility hubs


Additional theme(s)
Users & Services


Related showcases
Rotterdam Centraal, RandstadRail, Den Haag Centraal


Lead partner
DRS (future: Nationaal OV Beraad, or TLS)


Second contact


Extended summary
The OV-chipkaart is easier and more secure for passengers to use. Moreover it’s more convenient, since passengers can now travel on all public transport in the Netherlands using a single card. This includes trains, trams, buses and metros.
The basis for the OV-chipkaart in the Netherlands is a contactless chip card. The card contains a chip. This chip is invisible and is integrated into the card.
The card is central in the OV-chipkaart system. The card carries the most up-to-date information. In principle, the card can function independently of the back office. The public transport module contains: the last ten travel transactions, the last two reloading transactions, any travel products, any allocated rights (e.g. automatic reloading), as well as the customer profile (date of birth).


Form (description)
The OV-Chipkaart is a plastic reloadable card using Rfid technology. It features personalized, anonymous and throw away cards, travel possible with electronic purse and/or products (such as subscriptions). The card entails proven technology. Its back office system is based on the Hong Kong OCL system.
Many stations are gated, some of them are open.
Operation (usage)
Users have to check in- and check out for each trip and each PT operator(fare calculation while traveling) – at stations (train, metro) or on board (bus, tram).
All OV-Chipkaarts are provided by Translink (TLS) and offer the same capabilities and can be used with all public transport companies. OV-chipkaarts around the Netherlands may look different, however, they may be printed with the company colours and/or logos for different public transport companies, for example. At the request of the public transport companies, TLS also produces its own generic, non-branded OV-chipkaarts.
Performance (result)
Netherlands became leader in national public transport smartcards. General approval by users. High number of transactions.
Though some ergonomic features of the OV-Chipkaart has been critized.


Contactless fare collection has become an everyday fact of life for millions of people in cities around the globe, making public transport more convenient while giving operators a detailed picture of traffic patterns and helping them to tailor their products and services more closely to individuals and demographic groups. Yet the application of smartcard technology at a national level is still relatively unusual.
The Netherlands led the field with OV-Chipkaart which despite some significant teething problems and cost overruns is now in use with public transport operators across the country. Netherlands Railways (NS) will phase out paper ticketing entirely by the end of this year, adopting OV-Chipkaart for all fares.
Another leader in national public transport smartcards is Denmark, whose Rejsekort system is now in the final stages of implementation. Unlike OV-Chipkaart, the development and implementation of the Danish system is being overseen by a joint company, Rejsekort A/S, a collaborative venture in which nearly all of the country’s public transport operators own a stake. “The idea was to have one system, one concept, one core brand, and one set of service processes,” explains Mr Gregers Mogensen, chief consultant for Rejsekort A/S. “We already had a limited form of interoperability in paper-based ticketing, so we wanted to continue and expand the concept through a common card.”
(Source: International Railway Journal, May 13, 2013)
Three types of OV-Chipkaart
1. Personal OV-Chipkaart (P-card). This card displays a name, date of birth and photograph and can only be used by the cardholder. A range of services are offered with this card, including passes with different operators, automatic reloading, blocking if the card is reported lost or stolen, a credit refund when the card is terminated and an online transaction overview.
2. Anonymous OV-Chipkaart (A-card). This card does not display any personal details. It can therefore be used by more than one passenger – but not at the same time. A limited range of services are offered with this card (including credit refund when the card is terminated and an online transaction overview).
3. Business OV-Chipkaart. This card was launched in 2012. TLS facilitates use of the OV-Chipkaart in the business market. This allows the business card provider to produce and distribute business OV-Chipkaarts. The business card provider receives transactions and can offer additional services to customers.


J. Joppien, G. Niermeijer, M.C. Niks, J.I. van Kuijk, Exploring new possibilities for user-centred e-ticketing. Analysis report, OV-chipkaart Graduation Lab, Delft University of Technology March 2013.


Octopus card (Hong Kong), Oyster card (London)


Foreign potentials


Related projects and pilots
Rejsekort (Denmark)




Image credits
Translink e.o.


Public Transport Smart Card