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Topping up the balance on your OV-chipkaart

If you want to travel with an OV-chipkaart, you need to have a certain balance on the card. There are three ways to top up your balance. Another useful option is NS Flex, which allows you to travel on account and pay afterwards. Here's an explanation of all the options.

Topping up your balance at an NS Ticket Machine

If you prefer to top up your OV-chipkaart balance manually, you can do so quickly and easily at an NS ticket machine.

  1. Scan your OV-chipkaart at an NS ticket machine.
  2. Select ‘Top up balance’.
  3. Then select ‘Add balance’.
  4. Choose the amount you want to add to your OV-chipkaart. The machine shows the amounts that you can add to your card.

Good to know

  • You can top up the balance on both anonymous and personal OV-chipkaarten.
  • You can pay with a debit card or credit card, and in some cases also with coins.

Minimum balance on your OV-chipkaart

In order to travel with NS, you must have at least € 20 on your OV-chipkaart. If you have an NS season ticket, then other amounts apply:

  • For an OV-chipkaart with a Dal Vrij, Weekend Vrij, Dal Voordeel, Altijd Voordeel of Voordeeluren season ticket, this is € 10.
  • For Weekend Vrij, you only pay if you travel on weekdays outside the free period.
  • For Dal Vrij, you only pay if you travel during peak hours.
  • There is no check-in fee for an Altijd Vrij and Traject Vrij season ticket.
  • If you have an NS-Business Card, you travel on account so there is no check-in fee.

Topping up your balance at the desk

Would you prefer to have an NS employee top up your OV-chipkaart balance? If so, the service assistant at any NS service desk at the station will be happy to help you. In that case you will pay an additional € 0.50 service charge.

Good to know

  • This additional charge does not apply to wheelchair users, travellers over 75 years of age, or visually impaired travellers.

Automatic balance top-up

If you always want enough balance on your OV-chipkaart, you can request 'Automatic top-up' via After that, you only need to activate 'Automatic top-up' at a ticket machine at an NS station or the charging point at shops such as AH-to-Go and Kiosk.

Good to know

  • You can choose to top up your balance with amounts of € 10, € 20 or € 50.
  • Automatic top-up is only available if you have a personal OV-chipkaart (a card with a passport photo). 

When your balance falls below € 0 while checking in or out, the chosen amount will immediately be added to the balance on your OV-chipkaart. This amount will then be debited from your bank account. The only thing you need to do is check in and out.

Travel without a balance: NS Flex

NS Flex lets you travel without having a balance on your card. You simply pay each month by direct debit. NS Flex is available on its own or in combination with a season ticket. You can also terminate or change the season ticket each month.