Types of Nol Cards Benefits and Charges

Dubai, the glittering crown jewel of the United Arab Emirates, is a city renowned for its breathtaking skyscrapers, luxurious lifestyle, and vibrant cultural tapestry. Beyond its architectural marvels and bustling marketplaces lies an impressively comprehensive public transportation network, designed to seamlessly connect all corners of the city. This network includes the Dubai Metro, buses, trams, and water taxis, collectively covering the expanse of the city and ensuring that residents and visitors alike can navigate Dubai with ease and efficiency.

Central to the convenience of this extensive transportation network is the Nol card, a smart, contactless card that simplifies the process of paying for public transport fares across Dubai. The Nol card is your all-in-one pass to Dubai’s buses, metro, trams, and even water buses, eliminating the need for cash transactions and speeding up boarding times. With just a simple tap, the card allows users to hop from one mode of transport to another, offering a seamless and hassle-free travel experience. Its introduction has revolutionized the way people access and utilize public transportation in Dubai, making it more accessible and user-friendly than ever before.

Your Essential Guide to the Nol Card

What is a Nol Card?

The Nol card is a rechargeable, contactless smart card, introduced by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) as a cornerstone for accessing various services within the city’s public transportation network. It utilizes near-field communication (NFC) technology to enable quick, contactless transactions, making it a convenient tool for daily commuters and visitors alike.

But its uses go beyond just getting around. You can also use your Nol card for convenient payment at RTA paid parking locations and even at some retail stores around the city, up to a certain amount.

Types of Nol Cards Benefits and Charges

NOL Card Type (Initial Cost)BenefitsUsage Charges (AED)
Silver Card (25 AED)Standard class access on public transport, convenient for parking and retail transactionsDaily: 20 Weekly: 55 Monthly: 210
Gold Card (25 AED)Access to luxurious Gold Class compartments on the Metro and TramDaily (Gold Class): 40 Weekly (Gold Class): 110 Monthly (Gold Class): 420
Blue Card (70 AED)All Silver Card perks plus added security features and online managementDaily: 20 Weekly: 55 Monthly: 210
Red Ticket (2 AED)Tailored for tourists and visitors, flexible for short-term staysSingle Trip (from 4 AED) Daily Pass: 20
Nol Cards Benefits and Charges

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly passes are not currently available for Nol cards. Fares are charged based on distance traveled.
  • You can register your Silver or Gold Nol card online for balance protection in case of loss.
  • There is a one-time card issuance fee of 25 AED for Silver and Gold cards, which includes some credit.

Which NOL card is best for me 

Silver Card

The Silver Card is the most versatile and popular choice among regular commuters. It offers access to all modes of public transport in standard class and can be used for RTA parking payments and at select retail outlets. With a balance limit of AED 1000, it’s ideal for daily use, providing a perfect balance between cost and convenience. The Silver Card is best suited for residents and frequent visitors who rely on public transport for their regular commutes.

Gold Card

The Gold Card caters to those who prefer a touch of luxury in their daily commute, offering exclusive access to Gold Class compartments on the metro and tram, where passengers can enjoy more space and comfort. Like the Silver Card, it can also be used for parking and select retail payments, with the same balance limit. The Gold Card is ideal for business professionals or individuals who desire a more comfortable and premium travel experience.

NOL CARD Explained
NOL CARD Explained

Blue Card

Designed with personalization and security in mind, the Blue Card offers the same benefits as the Silver Card, with the added advantage of being registered to an individual. This means it can be blocked and replaced if lost or stolen, protecting the balance. Additionally, users can track their travel history and manage their card online. The Blue Card is perfect for long-term residents of Dubai who want a secure and convenient way to manage their daily travel.

Red Ticket

The Red Ticket is a paper-based, disposable option intended for tourists and occasional travelers. It can be loaded with up to 10 single trips or 5 daily passes, making it flexible for short-term use. However, it offers no access to premium services like the Gold Class compartments. The Red Ticket is best for visitors who plan to use Dubai’s public transport system intensively over a short period.

Unlimited NOL Card

The NOL Unlimited pass is a convenient feature for Dubai’s public transportation users, offering unlimited travel across the city’s metro, buses, trams, and waterbuses for a specific period. These passes are designed to cater to various needs, whether you’re a daily commuter, a frequent traveler, or a visitor looking to explore the city without the hassle of constantly topping up your NOL card.

Benefits of NOL Unlimited:

  • Unlimited Access: Enjoy limitless rides within the validity of your pass, providing freedom to travel across Dubai’s extensive public transportation network.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Offers significant savings for those who travel frequently, as it eliminates per-trip charges.
  • Convenience: Simplifies the travel process, removing the need to monitor balance or top up your NOL card regularly.
  • Flexibility: Available in daily, weekly, or monthly options, allowing you to choose a pass that best suits your travel needs.

Getting Your Nol Card:

  • Metro Stations: Ticket offices located in all Dubai Metro stations sell Nol cards. This is a great option if you’re arriving at the airport and plan to take the metro directly to your destination.
  • Bus Stations: While not all bus stations have them, some Dubai Bus stations also have manned counters where you can buy a Nol card.
  • RTA Authorized Sales Agents: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has a network of authorized sales agents located around the city. These can be convenience stores, supermarkets, and other locations displaying the Nol Card logo. You can find a list of RTA authorized sales agents on the RTA website:
  • BUY ONLINE : Consider purchasing your Nol card online through the Nol Pay app if you already have a valid payment method linked to it.

Cost of Nol Cards:

  • There’s a one-time card issuance fee for Silver and Gold cards. This fee is typically 25 AED and includes some credit you can use for travel (around 19 AED). This fee is not refundable.
  • Top-up options are available at most Nol card purchase locations and online through the Nol Pay app. The minimum top-up amount is usually 5 AED.
  • Maximum top-up amounts vary depending on whether your card is registered or not:
    • Anonymous users (unregistered cards) can top up to a maximum of 1,000 AED.
    • Registered users (cards linked to your Emirates ID) can top up to a maximum of 5,000 AED.

Topping Up Your Nol Card:

Mobile Wallets

With the growing trend of digital payments, you can also top up your Nol card using various mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay through the RTA app. This method combines the convenience of mobile payments with the flexibility of recharging on the go, making it a popular choice for tech-savvy commuters.

Ticket Offices

Located at metro, bus, and tram stations across Dubai, ticket offices are a go-to option for topping up your Nol card. Approach the counter, specify how much you’d like to add to your card, and the staff will process the top-up for you. It’s straightforward and also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about your card or the transport system.

Vending Machines

For quick and easy top-ups, Nol card vending machines are available at all metro, tram, and some bus stations. These self-service machines are user-friendly and offer instructions in multiple languages. Simply select the top-up option, place your Nol card on the designated area, and follow the prompts to add credit to your card. Payment can typically be made with cash or credit/debit cards.

RTA Website/App

The RTA offers online top-up options through its website or the RTA Dubai app, available for both iOS and Android devices. After creating an account and linking your Nol card, you can recharge it anytime and anywhere using a credit or debit card. This method is particularly convenient for those who prefer not to carry cash or who want to manage their card remotely.

NOL Card Activation

When topping up your Nol card online or through some mobile apps, there’s a waiting period before the added credit is reflected on your card.  This activation time can range from 45 minutes to 4 hours. To ensure you have enough balance for your next trip, it’s wise to plan accordingly and top-up in advance.

Checking Your Nol Card Balance:

There are a few ways to easily check your remaining balance on your Nol card:

RTA Website/App: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) website and mobile apps (RTA app, Nol Pay app) allow you to check your balance online. You’ll need to register your Nol card beforehand for this option.

  • Navigate to the RTA Website or App: Open your web browser and go to or download the RTA app (available on both iOS and Android) or the Nol Pay app on your mobile device.
  • Register or Log In: If you haven’t already, you will need to register an account on the RTA website or app and link your Nol card to your account. If you’re already registered, simply log in.
  • Access Nol Services: Once logged in, navigate to the Nol services section.
  • Check Balance: Select the option to view your Nol card balance. Enter your Nol card number if prompted. Your balance will be displayed on the screen.

Ticket Offices: Metro stations and some bus stations with customer service counters can check your Nol card balance for you.

  • Visit a Ticket Office: Locate a customer service counter at any metro station or some bus stations.
  • Request a Balance Check: Present your Nol card to the staff member and ask for a balance check.
  • View Your Balance: The staff member will inform you of your current Nol card balance.

Vending Machines: Most metro stations have vending machines where you can check your Nol card balance after tapping it on the designated reader. This is a quick and convenient way to see your remaining credit.

Vending Machines

  • Find a Vending Machine: Vending machines are available at most metro stations and some bus stations.
  • Tap Your Nol Card: Look for the card reader area marked on the vending machine. Tap your Nol card against the designated reader.
  • Check Your Balance: Your balance will be displayed on the machine’s screen instantly.

Nol Card Balance History

Your Nol card balance history is a record of all transactions made with the card, including top-ups and deductions for travel, parking, and retail purchases. To view your balance history, you can use the RTA website or mobile apps (RTA Dubai app or Nol Pay app) where you’ve registered your Nol card. This feature is particularly useful for monitoring your spending and keeping track of your travel expenses over time.

Nol Card Minimum Balance

The Nol card requires a minimum balance to be used for travel. This minimum balance depends on the type of service you’re accessing. For example, to start a journey on the Dubai Metro, Tram, or Bus, you must have a minimum balance of AED 7.5 on your Silver or Gold Nol card. This ensures that you have enough funds to cover the base fare of your trip.

Nol Card Refund

If you have a remaining balance on your Nol card and you no longer need the card, you can request a refund from RTA. For personalized Blue Nol cards, the refund process can be initiated online through the RTA website or app. For non-personalized Silver and Gold cards, refunds can be processed at customer service centers. Note that a service fee may be deducted from the refund amount, and the initial card purchase fee is non-refundable.

Nol Card Pending Credit

Pending credit on a Nol card usually refers to the amount added online or via mobile apps that has not yet been activated on the card. To activate this pending credit, you must tap your Nol card on a card reader at any metro station, bus, or tram within a specified period, typically 48 hours after the online transaction.

Nol Card Monthly Pass Price

The price of a Nol card monthly pass varies based on the number of zones you plan to travel across. For unlimited travel within all zones, the monthly pass for a Silver card can cost around AED 350. Prices may vary, so it’s advisable to check the latest fares on the RTA website or app. Monthly passes are cost-effective for frequent travelers who use Dubai’s public transport system regularly.

Nol Card Monthly Pass Price
Nol Card Monthly Pass Price

Using Nol Card in Abu Dhabi

Currently, the Nol card is designed for use within the Dubai public transportation network and cannot be used in Abu Dhabi. However, Abu Dhabi has its own transport payment system, the Hafilat card, for buses and other public transport services. Travelers planning to use public transport in both cities will need to obtain the respective cards for each city.

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How to use Your Nol Card in Metro

Using your Nol card on Dubai’s public transportation network is quick and easy. Here’s how it works:

  • Entry: When entering the metro station, bus, tram, or waterbus, simply tap your Nol card on the designated reader at the fare gate. The reader will display the remaining balance on your card. Make sure you tap the card properly to avoid any delays.
  • Exit: Upon exiting the metro station, bus, tram, or waterbus, tap your Nol card on the reader at the exit fare gate. The system will calculate your fare based on the distance you traveled between entry and exit points and deduct the amount from your Nol card balance.

Important Note: Remember to tap your Nol card on both entry and exit points. Failing to tap out at your final destination may result in a penalty fare being deducted from your card.

Paid Parking:

Your Nol card can also be used for convenient payment at RTA-controlled parking lots throughout Dubai. The process is similar to using public transport:

  • Park your vehicle in an RTA designated parking spot.
  • Locate the Nol card payment terminal near the parking machine.
  • Tap your Nol card on the reader to initiate payment.
  • Follow the on-screen prompts to select the parking duration and confirm the transaction.
  • The Nol card will be deducted for the chosen parking time.

Additional Features Of NOL Card UAE

Personalization and Security

The NOL Blue Card offers an added layer of personalization and security. By registering your card, you secure the ability to block and replace your card if it’s lost or stolen, protecting the balance you’ve accumulated. This feature is particularly beneficial for residents or long-term visitors who make significant use of Dubai’s buses, metro, trams, and waterbuses for their daily commutes.

Online Management and Balance Protection

With the online management feature, NOL card users can track their spending, view their travel history, and manage their card balance from the comfort of their home or on the go. This digital convenience ensures that managing your NOL card is as seamless and hassle-free as using it across Dubai’s RTA services.

Auto Top-Up Functionality

For uninterrupted travel, the auto top-up functionality is a game-changer. By linking your NOL card to a credit or debit card, you can ensure that your balance never falls below a certain threshold, automatically recharging your card to a preset level. This feature is a boon for regular commuters who rely on Dubai’s public transport system for their daily routines.

NOL Rewards Program

The NOL Rewards Program is another feature that enhances the value of your NOL card. By using your card across RTA transport services and participating retail outlets, you can earn points that can be redeemed for various benefits, offering not just a travel card but a gateway to a range of discounts and offers across the city.

Integration with Retail and Services

Beyond transport, the NOL card is accepted at select retail outlets and services, making it a versatile payment tool. From grabbing a coffee to paying for parking, the NOL card simplifies transactions, embodying the essence of a smart, cashless society.

Accessibility Features

For those with special needs, the NOL card system ensures accessibility across the transportation network. Special fares and considerations are part of the inclusive design of the NOL card system, making Dubai’s public transport welcoming and accessible to all.

FAQs

How to Apply for a Student NOL Card

Applying for a Student NOL Card in Dubai offers students the benefit of discounted fares across the city’s public transportation network, including buses, metros, trams, and waterbuses. Here’s how to apply:

  • Eligibility Check: Ensure you’re eligible for a Student NOL Card. Typically, this includes students up to the age of 23 enrolled in accredited educational institutions in the UAE.
  • Required Documents: Prepare necessary documents, which usually include a valid student ID, proof of enrollment from your educational institution, a passport copy, and a passport-sized photo.
  • Application Process:
    • Online: Visit the official RTA website or use the RTA Dubai app. Navigate to the NOL services section and select the option for applying for a Student NOL Card. Upload the required documents and submit your application online.
    • In Person: Visit a Customer Service Centre or any RTA authorized agent. Bring all required documents with you for verification and submission.
  • Payment and Collection: Once your application is processed and approved, you’ll be notified about the payment (a nominal fee for card issuance). After payment, you can collect your Student NOL Card from the designated location or have it mailed to you, depending on the application method.
  • Activation: Upon receiving your card, follow any given instructions to activate it, and you’ll be ready to enjoy discounted travel across Dubai’s public transportation.

How Much is an Unlimited NOL Card?

The concept of an “unlimited NOL Card” refers to the various pass options available for unlimited travel within specified periods. These passes are particularly beneficial for frequent travelers. The cost of unlimited travel passes depends on the duration (daily, weekly, monthly) and the zones you plan to travel across. Here’s a general idea:

  • Daily Pass: Starts from around AED 20 for unlimited travel in all zones for one day.
  • Weekly Pass: Prices vary based on the number of zones but expect to start from around AED 55 for unlimited travel in one zone for a week.
  • Monthly Pass: For unlimited travel across all zones for a month, prices start from around AED 350.

Prices and options can change, so it’s advisable to check the latest information on the RTA website or the RTA Dubai app for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing.

Can I Share My NOL Card?

NOL cards are generally intended for use by a single individual, especially when it comes to personalized cards like the Blue NOL Card, which is registered to a specific user and offers features like balance protection in case the card is lost or stolen. Sharing such a card is not advisable as it is linked to the personal details of the registered user.

However, standard Silver and Gold NOL cards can technically be shared among users for travel, provided the card is not being used to access concessionary fares or benefits specific to certain groups (like students or senior citizens). It’s important to remember that the card can only be used by one person per journey; it cannot be used to tap in multiple passengers on a single trip.

Can i use NOL card by tapping Mobile NFC

No, you cannot currently use your NOL card by tapping your mobile phone’s Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality. While NFC technology is widely used for contactless payments, Dubai’s Nol card system doesn’t integrate with mobile wallets for direct fare payments on public transport.

Here’s what we know about Nol cards and mobile phones:

  • Nol Cards: These are physical contactless smart cards that require tapping on designated readers at entry and exit points of public transport to pay fares.
  • Mobile Top-up: You can use the RTA Dubai app or Nol Pay app to top up your Nol card balance remotely. However, these apps cannot be used to directly pay fares through your phone’s NFC.

While the Nol card isn’t universally accepted for payment across Dubai, it can be used at a surprising number of places beyond just public transportation. Here are some categories of popular locations where you might be able to use your Nol card

Retail Stores:

  • Major supermarket chains: Several major chains like Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, and Aswaaq accept Nol cards for payments up to a certain amount.

Restaurants and Cafes:

  • Select chains and outlets: While not every restaurant accepts Nol cards, some popular chains like Burger King, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, and 800 Degrees Pizza do.

Attractions:

  • Limited Discounts with Emaar Nol Card: If you purchase a special Emaar Nol Card (different from the standard Nol card), you can get discounts on entry fees at popular attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, and Dubai Mall.

Other:

  • RTA Parking: As mentioned earlier, Nol cards are the primary payment method for parking at RTA-controlled parking lots throughout Dubai.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Acceptance can vary: It’s always best to check with the specific store or venue before assuming they accept Nol cards. Look for signs or ask staff for confirmation.
  • Transaction limits might apply: Some retailers might have a maximum purchase amount allowed for Nol card payments.

If you found this guide useful and want to keep up with more tips on using the NOL card, remember to like, share, and subscribe. Have any questions or need more info about the NOL card? Feel free to drop us a message. We’re here to help make your Dubai travel experience easier and more enjoyable. Thanks for your support!

Nashwa

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