OV-chipkaart system

The total OV-chipkaart system is known as the Scheme. The Scheme aims to fulfil three fundamental requirements. These requirements shape the content of the Scheme. The fundamental requirements are:

Interoperability of the card, product and system

It must be possible to use the OV-chipkaart, the products and the systems with all Participants' equipment and systems. This applies to all functions these systems can be expected to perform.


This can be split into two aspects:

  • data integrity: the degree to which details held by the Scheme match reality. This means that no details should be incorrectly added, removed or retained.
  • process integrity: the degree to which the Scheme performs so that corresponding functions work the same way, regardless of the time, place or Participant.


Both sensitive business information and personal information must be protected against unauthorised use by Participants in the Scheme.


The Scheme is defined by:

  • the Regulations and Procedures Handbook
  • the System Document Open Architecture
  • the Registrar document

Translink manages and maintains these documents and makes them available to the Participants. Agreements relating to maintenance, management and notification of changes are established in the Framework Agreement for Participation in the OV-chipkaart system.

Business Model 

The Scheme Business Model consists of a number of roles. Many parties are involved in the use and support of the OV-chipkaart. For a number of activities, parties must be connected to the OV-chipkaart Scheme. In this case, they become a Participant and therefore one of our customers. Every Participant holds one or more roles and has an independent interest in fulfilling that role. Participants' roles are fixed. The rules and regulations agreed between the key players are also fixed. This is necessary to prevent any harm to the interests of other parties and cardholders. Frameworks within which the parties can develop their own policies have also been established.

Organisation of the OV-chipkaart system

The Business Model describes the way the OV-chipkaart Scheme Participants (Translink and the public transport companies) are organised.

  • The Scheme Provider registers parties as Participants in the OV-chipkaart Scheme, based on a Framework Agreement for Participation in the OV-chipkaart System.
  • The Scheme Provider tests the processes, the organisation and the Participants' systems against the OV-chipkaart Scheme rules and regulations, as established in the Regulations and Procedures Handbook.
  • Each Participant holds one or more roles within the OV-chipkaart Scheme.
  • Every necessary role is held by at least one Participant.
  • Necessary roles in the Business Model include: Card Provider, Co-Brander, Card Producer, Card Distributor, Load Agent, Float Manager, Service Provider, Clearing Operator and Scheme Provider. The Business Model also includes the roles Product Director, Product Vendor and Business Card Provider.
  • Unique roles are held by only one Participant. Unique roles include: Scheme Provider, Clearing Operator and Card Provider. These are held by Translink.
  • The Scheme Provider gives Participants unique identifications that must be used within the OV-chipkaart Scheme.