Free train, bus and tube travel in London on Friday with MasterCard contactless

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MasterCard is running a very low key promotion on Friday which will get you free travel to work and back if you live or work in London.

MasterCard has announced that Friday is ‘Fare Free Friday’.  To promote the new contact-less travel service on London buses, train and tube services, MasterCard will refund 100% of the contact-less charges you incur on Friday.

Priceless London

You must, of course, use a contact-less MasterCard credit or debit card when making your trip and pay via contact-less travel.

Full details can be found here on the MasterCard Priceless London website.  Despite the ‘register now’ button on the site (which only seems to register you for the TFL website) no specific registration appears to be needed for this promotion.

Press reports suggest that this will be repeated on November 28th although I have no independent confirmation so far.

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  1. A big problem for customers using credit cards on Tfl is that the touch-in touch-out machines don’t indicate the cost (as they do with Oyster cards) So, if a machine fails to read – or you forget – you don’t know you’re charged a penalty fare , until you receive your card statement. Of course it’s a win-win for TfL but not for the customer.

    • so yes it’s great, do use the free travel and £5 rebates on Amex but don’t get addicted to using your card afterwards! Thanks for the tip Raffles

    • I believe if you register your card online like your oyster card, then you can check journey history and charges.

      • Yes I’ve registered all my contactless cards with this and it works really nicely, was pretty impressed!

  2. Talking of Amex cards, has there been a change to referring a friend to get a card?

    I was looking today and you now need to tell them what card you already have or they will not credit you or the person you refer a bonus.

    Additionally, my British Airways (non-premium) Amex will only let me refer for other British Airways Amex Cards. Likewise my wife’s Gold Charge Card will only allow referrals for Green, Gold and Platinum charge cards.

    This is a real nuisance and seems a strange turn of events as you may want to refer for a different type of card and you can’t now it seems.

    PS I posted this on another thread but there are more comments on this one so I’m putting it twice sorry as seems important.

    • How do Tfl distinguish between different cardholders with the same number e.g primary and supplementary cardholders when applying weekly caps?

      • My guess would be that the contactless chip in the card has a unique ID and they base it on that rather than the card number. However I don’t know how that then works for trying it up with the website. I think only MBNA issue additional cards with the same number, but it’s an interesting question!

        • Same goes for viewing your journey history online…must be the card name or cvv?

        • Nationwide issues cards with the same number too.

          If this worked, you could use it to get the same cap for multiple people, but you wouldn’t be able to travel at the same time on trains.

          Might try it on a bus with my wife one day.

    • How would Amex know where to put the reward points if you do not give them your card details?

    • This is how it has been for quite some time now I think?

      Well over a year at least!

      • The Plat/Gold/Green referral bonus is MRs so of course you have to have an MR card to do it.

        BA card referral bonuses are Avios so again they have to go on an Avios earning card for obvious reasons.

    • It has been this way for months, the referral system was rebooted in June-ish.

      • Ah, ok. It’s just I referred my wife for the Gold Charge card from a British Airways card in Feb and it was fine so knew something had changed some point this year.

        Never noticed in July when she referred me for platinum for obvious reasons. It rather messes up referrals between us in the future, though I’m sure you’ll give me a boost when needed Raffles 😉

        • May have been some sort of legacy arrangement that allowed you to refer for Gold from BA as I have only been able to refer for another BA from my BA (and refer Plat/Gold/Green from my Gold) for well over a year now. My folks had similar restrictions on what they could refer as well so I know this arrangement has been in place for some people since at least 2013.

  3. Received this from Metro Bank, which confirms the Nov 28th as well:

    On Friday 14 November Metro Bank Customers will be able to benefit from Mastercard’s Fare Free Friday.
    Travel free in London with your contactless Metro Bank MasterCard Debit or Credit Card

    On Friday 14 November, Metro Bank Customers will be able to benefit from MasterCard’s Fare Free Friday. Touch in and out with your contactless Metro Bank debit or credit card between 04:30am on Friday 14 and 01:00am on 15 November and your fare will be refunded. Please note refunds will be capped at £21.80 and may take up to 28 working days to appear in your account.
    To qualify for a refund, all you need to do is use your contactless Metro Bank card to travel on London Underground, London Buses, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, participating National Rail services in London and the Tramlink on Friday 14 November.
    Fare Free Friday will also take place on Friday 28 November. Details about MasterCard’s Fare Free Friday can be found at
    We love to hear from you – if you have any questions visit any store 7 days a week, call 24/7 on 0345 08 08 500 or visit
    Aisling Kane
    Customer Services Director mastercard contactless
    T&Cs: MasterCard Contactless – TFL – Fare Free Friday
    MasterCard Contactless card and device holders only. Offer available from 04:30am 14/11/2014 to 01:00am 15/11/2014. The refund, to a maximum value of £21.80, will take up to 28 working days. Under 18s will require guardian/parental consent to take part. Offer subject to normal availability. Offer excludes travel on London River Bus and Emirates Air Line. Journeys must be paid for using a MasterCard Contactless card or device. Visit for full terms and conditions.

  4. IslandDweller says:

    Robin at 13:50 in 13Nov “So, if a machine fails to read – or you forget – you don’t know you’re charged a penalty fare”
    It’s true that you don’t see the fare at the time of usage (because your usage is tracked over the day and then charged as a single payment at end of day). But using your contactless card on the entry barrier or bus reader generates the same success “beep” as using Oyster – and the display shows “accepted”. So you do know that your card has been read by the system.

  5. Has anyone managed to use the Lloyds Avios Master card for this promotion?
    For some reason, it shows up as card not accepted when I tried to touch in…

  6. Has anyone managed to use the Lloyds Avios Master card for this promotion?
    For some reason, A error message displayed as card not accepted when I tried to touch in through the gate..

    • Have you used the card for a chip and pin payment before? This needs to be done to “activate” the countless part.

      Your bank is refusing the card/there is an unpaid debt to TfL

      Or there is a general fault with your card…

      • Thanks for the reply Paul.
        I think I have not used this card on a chip & pin payment before, so this might be the reason.

    • I had the same issue with my Lloyds mastercard – not accepted on bus or tube. Very annoying.

      • After reading Paul’ s reply above, I am guessing Master card has yet to be activated for the contactless part therefore it was not accepted.

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