Tap & Cap
Want a flexible way to pay? Tap & Cap is for you.
Tap & Cap uses contactless payments to cap your travel charges so you’ll never pay more than £4.40 a day or £18 per week, no matter how many journeys you make. If you’re currently paying by cash or with contactless, moving to Tap & Cap could save you money on your bus travel.
How will Tap & Cap benefit you?
With Tap & Cap there's no need to work out which ticket you should buy, as we work out the cheapest on-bus fare for you. The price you pay is based on the number of journeys you make and will never be more than our Day or Week ticket price. This way, if your travel plans change, you'll never pay for more travel than you need.
See how we work out what you get charged with Tap & Cap.
Once the cost of your daily journeys reaches the price of our Day ticket, the price you pay is capped at this amount and you won’t pay any more that day no matter how many journeys you make.
We’ll also track your bus travel across 7 days and apply our weekly cap. So when the cost of your travel reaches the price of our Week ticket, the price you pay is capped again saving you up to £12.80 compared to normal contactless payments for 7 days travel.
How can I check my charges?
With Tap & Cap we won’t be issuing paper tickets. To keep track of your spending, click below to visit the transaction portal. Once you’ve logged in, you can see what journeys you’ve made and how much you’ve been charged over the past 90 days.
Is Tap & Cap the right option for me?
Anyone can use Tap & Cap to buy their Day and Week tickets. However, the Tap & Cap scheme doesn’t apply to the purchase of the short hop (£1.70) single, child, student, month or multiple tickets.
*These tickets can also be bought with contactless or cash, but for our cheapest fares buy them on the First Bus App!
What is Tap & Cap:
To pay for your ticket, place your card or mobile device onto the card reader as you board and wait for a beep that indicates your purchase has been registered. You must use the same card every time. It really is as simple as that!
If you want to pay with contactless for a ticket that is not available in Tap & Cap, please let the driver know before you place your card or device on the reader to ensure you are charged the correct amount and receive a ticket.
Tap & Cap uses contactless to guarantee our best on bus fares. Contactless is the payment method for your tickets; Tap & Cap guarantees that you will never pay more than the price of a day or week ticket, no matter how many journeys you make. This is perfect for people who don’t know their travel plans in advance, and might usually purchase a day or week ticket but don't use them fully, or who end up buying two singles when they could have bought a day ticket. With Tap & Cap you will never pay more than you need to!
Tap & Cap is ideal for adults who purchase single, day and week tickets.
Tap & Cap is not available for child, student, group or night tickets. Tap & Cap is also not available for short hop tickets.
No, but you can still buy multiple tickets with the same contactless card! To buy multiple tickets on the same card please ask to purchase the tickets from the driver.
Tap & Cap is available on all routes, aside from the following: N1, N17, N19, N20, N23 and Gig and Go.
On these services a ticket must be purchased from the driver. If you are using Tap & Cap and then use one of these services, any tickets purchased on these services are not valid as part of the Tap & Cap scheme and will be charged as separate transactions.
No paper tickets are issued when you pay with Tap & Cap. Instead, your payment card acts as your ticket!
You will be able to keep track of your payments using our online portal, accessed here:
Paying via Tap & Cap:
Sometimes the payment will be taken from your account at the end of the day, and if you make multiple journeys on the same day, the cost of these journeys might be combined and taken from your account in a single transaction.
You can check what you’ve been charged for each journey on our customer portal:
When you use Tap & Cap, your card acts as your ticket. If you use more than one card or device for Tap & Cap, each will act as a separate ticket and will be entered into separate caps.
Absolutely, you can still use your contactless card for all types of tickets up to the value of £30. Tap & Cap just guarantees you our cheapest on-bus fare!
Unfortunately, due to the nature of contactless payments, our drivers will not be able to explain why a payment has failed. However, if for any reason a payment does fail, you can try a different card or pay using an alternative payment method, such as using an Apple or Google Pay-enabled device or purchasing a ticket via our First Bus App.
mTickets on the First Bus App are often cheaper than the on-bus equivalent, so why not buy before you travel?
Below are some of the more common reasons why a contactless transaction may have failed:
- The card hasn't been approved by the bank for the transaction.
This can occur as a result of several contactless transactions in a short space of time, which can trigger automated fraud risk management policies with your bank or card issuer.
- The card hasn’t been used at a Chip and PIN terminal for a certain period.
Most banks and card issuers require a chip and PIN transaction every so often to help ensure it really is you using that card. Once a chip and PIN transaction has been seen by your card issuer, this temporary block will usually be removed.
- More than one card or device has been detected by the reader at the same time.
If this happens the reader will not take any payment and the driver will be notified that no payment has been made. This is not a problem - simply make sure that only one card or device is presented to the reader and try again.
Current capped transactions will not be affected if a payment fails.
If you use a card for a payment which is subsequently declined for insufficient funds, unfortunately your card will be automatically blocked by our ticket machines.
However, we will try again to recover the money owed automatically after a few days or when you try to use the card again on our buses. As soon as the amount outstanding is settled with your bank or card issuer, your card will be unblocked by our ticket machines and you can make contactless payments on our buses once more.
Current capped transactions will not be affected.
Checking your payment history:
You can check all your contactless charges, including those from Tap & Cap, by accessing our online portal using this link:
Your journey will appear on our online portal within a few hours of purchasing your ticket. Payment for this journey will then be taken at the end of that same day once all journeys have been made.
General contactless queries:
All Visa and MasterCard cards displaying the contactless symbol , along with Apple Pay and Google Pay, can be used. Unfortunately, we do not accept payments by American Express or Maestro.
If you’re using a pre-paid card, please ensure you have enough credit before trying to purchase your ticket. Failure to provide funds could result in your card being rejected.
Most contactless cards issued outside of the UK will be accepted on our ticket machines. However, if you find that your card does’t work, please contact your bank or card issuer. Please be aware that cards issued outside of the UK may incur overseas transaction fees applied by your bank or card issuer.
Sometimes, we authorise a payment for a nominal amount. This allows us to check with your card issuer that the card is valid and will be replaced by the full transaction amount in the next 24-48 hours.
We don’t currently accept contactless payments for topping up smart cards on our buses, as we believe this may increase boarding times and delay our buses as a consequence.
All payments are processed by FirstGroup Holdings Ltd on behalf of First Bus.
Contactless payments are more secure than carrying cash for several reasons:
The information on your card is protected with secure Chip and PIN technology. Data transmitted during transactions is encrypted and protected with a digital signature that is much harder to forge than a handwritten one.
If your card is lost or stolen, you’re protected against unauthorised payments provided you inform your bank as soon as you realise it has gone missing. Your card will be blocked immediately.
If your card does fall into the wrong hands, the maximum amount per transaction is £30, and after repeated payments, the person will be asked for a PIN. For payments over £30, authorisation is required, so nobody can make purchases above this value without your PIN or device passcode.
Each time your contactless device interacts with a payments terminal, it generates a one-time-only electronic signature and cryptogram, making it just as secure as a normal Chip transaction.
If your card does go missing, your bank may notice unusual spending patterns or locations and request a Chip and PIN transaction.
Customer Services and Help:
If you’re unsure about a payment showing against your card in the portal, or a journey has been registered on the portal that you do not recognise, just give our Tap & Cap customer services team a call on 0330 094 7577.
Unfortunately, our drivers are only able to cancel contactless transactions at the point of purchase. If you require a refund after the point of purchase, you will need to contact our Tap & Cap customer services teams on:
03300 947 577
Normal opening hours: 7am – 10pm, seven days a week.
To help our customer service agents to resolve your request, please provide the following information:
- The service on which the ticket was purchased
- The price of the ticket you purchased (as shown on your ticket)
- The date and time (as shown on your ticket or receipt)
- The first 6 and last 4 digits of your card (this will be how it is shown on your receipt)
- Whether you paid via Apple or Google Pay