A First Timer’s Guide to Using the Dubai NOL Card

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In a city that has 7 modes of transportation, it can get quite maddening to carry loose cash and/or buy a different card for each. That's where the NOL Card comes handy. In simple terms, the NOL card in Dubai is a smart card that enables you to pay for various RTA transport modes in the city with just one, single card.

From the metro to the buses, water buses and tram, you can use the NOL Card. You can even pay for RTA's paid parking services across the city using the same card! If you're a tourist planning to use the public transport to get around the city ( I strongly suggest you do, if you hold your bank account dear), investing in a NOL Card is the best decision you could make.

PS : Did you know you can grab a Dubai SIM Card + NOL Metro Card exclusively on Headout and pick them up as soon as you land at Dubai International Airport?! More on this below.

What is the Dubai NOL Card?

Madame Tussauds Dubai

Image Courtesy : Sama Sama Holiday Homes

Dubai's version of the MetroCard, Oyster Card and Hola BCN is what the NOL Card is. The one card that gives you access to pretty much all modes of transport in the city, accompanied by great savings and ease of use; the NOL Card is a wise investment. Especially for those who prefer to use the city's well connected public transport network as opposed to being stranded in the infamous "Dubai traffic".

How Does The NOL Card work?

The NOL Card is a contactless smart card, which you have to hold over the NOL Card reader for validating your journey. The amount for your will be deducted based on your entry and exit points and how many zones you have crossed.

Why You Should Buy The NOL Card

Visiting a place is a lot more fun when you're not caught up in the minutiae. Dubai in itself can be quite overwhelming, so let the transport hassle be taken care of with the one stop solution - NOL Card. Apart from hopping onto your preferred mode of transport with the NOL Card, here are a few more advantages of having the NOL Card:

Acceptance at Retail Stores

You can make retail purchases with your NOL Card! So what if you forget your card/cash at home? At selected retail outlets like ZOOM, Circle K, Gloria Jeans, Burger King, Aswaaq and many more, you can use your NOL card to make purchases! Buy the end of 2019, you can use your NOL Card at over 5000 retail stores. I say, ditch the debit card!

Pay your cab fares

The next time you're worried about having exact change during your cab ride, fret not because the NOL Card is here to your rescue. You can simply swipe your NOL Card for your cab rides and carry practically zero cash on you! However, know that you will be charged a service fee of Dh 1 over and above your cab fare.

Entry to Dubai Parks

Green spaces in Dubai are perfect picnic spots amidst the concrete jungle. While there is a small fee to enter these green hotspots in the city, why sweat about it when you simply swipe your NOL Card? You can enter the Mushrif Park,Zabeel Park, Mamzar Park, and even the Creek Park with your card!

Parking fare

You can use your NOL card to pay for the parking fees in all paid parking lots across Dubai. Simply insert your card in the ticket vending slot and purchase a ticket for your parking. Finding fils to pay for your parking is now a forgotten dream.

Types of NOL Card

There are 4 types of NOL Cards available - Red, Blue, Silver & Gold. Here's a quick description of each type to give you an idea of what suits you best.


Gold Card

Silver Card

Blue Card

Red Card 


Same features of the Silver Card + privileged access to Metro's Gold Class seats.

A transport card with an e-purse that can be loaded with up to AED 1000.

A personal card with a secure e-purse that can be loaded with up to AED 5000.

A paper-based ticket which can be loaded with 10 trips. No e-purse facility,


  • Metro Gold Class Seats
  • No premium paid on buses, water buses and parking.

  • Polyvalent Card
  • Economical, no-frills options.
  • Facility to recover balance if stolen 
  • Secure online services for top up credit.
  • Required for concession fares
  • Paper disposable tickets 
  • Good for one-time usage.

Modes of Transport

Metro, Bus, Water Bus, Parking, Tram

Metro, Bus, Water Bus, Parking, Tram

Metro, Bus, Water Bus, Parking, Tram

Bus, Metro & Water Bus


5 years 

5 years  

5 years  

90 Days or 10 Trips  

Top Up Limit 

AED 5000

AED 1000

AED 5000

10 Trips or

5 daily Passes 

Top Up Locations 

  • Ticket offices
  • Ticket vending machines
  • Authorised sales agents
  • RTA Customer Service Centres
  • Online
  • Ticket offices
  • Ticket vending machines
  • Authorised sales agents
  • RTA Customer Service Centres
  • Online
  • Ticket offices
  • Ticket vending machines
  • Authorised sales agents
  • RTA Customer Service Centres
  • Online
  • Ticket vending machines

Who should buy this? 

  • Those who like traveling in luxury.
  • Those who want the transport -frills bundled into one card.
  • Those who want to steer clear of the metro rush by using the Gold class cabins.

  • Residents of Dubai who are looking for the one stop card to all their transport needs.
  • Tourists staying for an extended period and intend to use public transport at an economical fare.

  • Want your name and photo on either the Gold or Silver Card? Choose this one. You also get to recover your balance if in case you misplace your card.
  • Tourists and infrequent visitors to Dubai who want to use the public transport in limited capacity. 
  • Those who are on a strict budget. 

NOL Card Price 

AED 25

AED 25

AED​ 80


Dubai Transport Zones & Zonal Fares For Using NOL Card

Dubai Transport Zones

Dubai is divided into 7 zones, with respect to its transport network. Each zone includes all transport types - metro, buses, water taxis - and your journey is calculated dependent on the total number of zones you have passed. Fares vary based on the number of zones crossed, ranging from AED 3 for one zone to AED 7.50 (for an all zone trip), using the NOL Card.

Dubai Zones

Zonal Fare Break-Up

Check before you travel on as prices can be updated at any time.

The NOL Card & Sim Card Combo Deal

This one's an irresistible deal. Get an option of purchasing a Silver or Gold NOL Card with a sim card preloaded with attractive talktime and data plans. If you want to skip the hassle of waiting in the long airport queue to get a sim card, this bundle is for you.

Once you land at Dubai International Airport, head to the closest Bookmywifi shop and pick up your NOL Card & Sim Card by flashing your Headout mobile voucher. With the NOL Card in hand, you can even take the metro to your hotel and maybe call even home without roaming charges!

More SIM Card and Wifi Options in Dubai

Frequently Asked Questions About The NOL Card Dubai

What are the Sim Card plans that are bundled with the NOL Card on Headout?

Are there any discounts or reduced prices on NOL Card?

What is the minimum and maximum value allowed on a NOL Card?

How can I check the balance of my NOL card?

How many times a day can I use my NOL Card? 

Can I refund my NOL Card?

Should I buy a NOL Card and or NOL Ticket?

Are NOL Card fares different at weekends? Or off-peak times?

Can I use the NOL Card outside of Dubai, in other Emirates of UAE?

Handy Tips For Using Your Dubai NOL Card

  • Always make sure your NOL Card has a minimum balance of AED 7.5.
  • If your Nol Card is rejected at a reader, wait until the indicator light stops flashing, then try again. If it recurs, you can ask the staff at the counter to help you out.
  • You are required to tap in (when you enter) and tap out (when you exit) at the station/bus/tram etc. Failure to do so will result in a heavy penal fees.
  • If you have the Blue NOL Card (the personlised one),make sure no one else uses it even with your permission as you could be fined for the same.
  • Browse through the official website before your visit to Dubai to know the latest offerings of the NOL Card Dubai. The RTA rolls out new plans every other month, adding to the already exciting kitty of offerings.

Grabbed your NOL Card yet?

Check out more detailed Dubai guides and plan your trip better.

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