Frequently Asked Questions?

Most frequently asked questions

  • What is a digital Railcard?
    A:

    Digital Railcards are stored within the Railcard app on your smart phone or tablet, meaning there’s no need to carry the physical card around with you. They can be stored on up to two devices and used quicker than plastic Railcards as they do not need to be sent in the post.

    Click here for more information on managing your Railcard


  • How can I buy a digital Railcard?
    A:

    Digital Railcards can be bought online only. Click on 'Buy Online' from the homepage to get started.

    In most cases, you should get your digital Railcard instantly.

    Click here for more information on managing your Railcard


  • What is a download code?
    A:

    You need a download code to add your Railcard to your app.

    You can find this code in the email we send after you complete your Railcard application.

    Click here for more information on download codes and managing your Railcard


  • I can’t find my download code
    A:

    If you can’t find your download code, please check your mailbox (including your junk mail) for an email from our Railcard team. If you still can’t find the email, you will need to return to the website where you bought the Railcard, log into your account and follow the links to request a new download code.

    Click here for a step by step on how to find your download code.


  • My download code won’t work
    A:

    If your download code isn’t working, it is likely that it has expired or has been used to activate your Railcard on too many devices. You can only store your digital Railcard on a maximum of 2 devices, so you may need to remove your Railcard from an existing device to add it to a new one.

    You will need to return to the website where you bought your Railcard, log into your account and request a new download code or manage the number of devices your Railcard is on. If the problem persists, please contact the customer services team.

    Click here for a step by step on how to generate a new download code.


  • How do I add a digital Railcard to my phone?
    A:

    If you have already bought a digital Railcard, you should have received a 'download code' by email.

    Once you've got this code, go to the app, tap on the ‘+’ button in the top left of the screen and enter your code.

    Click here for a step by step on how to add a digital Railcard to your phone.


  • What happens if I lose my device?
    A:

    In the unfortunate scenario where you lose your device, you can simply add your digital Railcard to a new device. If your Railcard is already associated to two devices, please log in to your account and you will find an option to Manage your devices for any active Railcards you own. Simply select the device you want to remove. Once you have done this you will be able to add your Railcard to a new device.


  • What happens if I don’t have reception or I am offline?
    A:

    Railcard are available offline for a period of up to 72 hours. The Railcard app on your device will continue to show your digital Railcard as long as your mobile device has connected to the internet at some point within the last 72 hours. However, you will need an internet connection to buy your digital Railcard or add it to a new device.


  • How do I unblock my Railcard?
    A:

    You will need to contact our customer support team on 0345 3000 250 so that we can better understand the activity that has caused your Railcard to be blocked.

    If appropriate, they will be able to help you get back online with your Railcard.


  • Why has my Railcard been blocked?
    A:

    If we detect suspicious activity on your Railcard, it will be blocked until we have had the chance to speak to you.

    During this period, your Railcard will no longer be valid for travel.

    If your Railcard has been blocked, you will need to contact our customer support team on 0345 3000 250.

    **Excessive device changing can result in a Railcard being blocked**


  • Can I claim a refund if I don't use my Railcard?
    A:

    No. Unfortunately, once a Railcard has been issued it is non-refundable.


  • I have a plastic Railcard, can I swap it for a digital one?
    A:

    Unfortunately, you are unable to swap a plastic Railcard to a digital Railcard. However, when the time comes to renew your Railcard you can do this online and choose to have a digital Railcard. 

     


  • How can I remove my Railcard from an existing device?
    A:

    Return to the website where you bought your Railcard, log into your account and you will find an option to ‘Manage your Railcard’ for any active Railcard’s you own. Simply select the device you want to remove. Once you have done this you will be able to add your Railcard to a new device.


  • Senior Railcard Terms & Conditions
    A:

    There are important terms and conditions that you need to understand before you use your Railcard. Please click on the link to the Senior Railcard terms and conditions to read these:

    Senior Railcard - terms and conditions


  • Can I use my Railcard on Sleeper Trains?
    A:

    Travelling on a Sleeper Train usually requires two payments: one for the rail ticket and one for the berth. The Railcard will give you a discount on the rail ticket element, but not on the berth fee. From time to time, the different Train Companies providing sleeper services may advertise special offers for Railcard holders.


  • Can I use my Senior Railcard at any time of day?
    A:

    No. Railcard discounts are available throughout Britain but they are not available on tickets for morning peak period services for journeys wholly within London & South East Network Railcard area on Mondays to Fridays. (The exceptions to this discounted fare rule are when you travel at weekends and on Public Holidays).

    The times of morning off-peak services do vary by route and are normally related to the availability of Off-Peak Day tickets. It's best to check with ticket office staff before buying your tickets.


  • I want to use the online system to renew the Railcard I bought last year at a station. The print on it has faded and I can’t see the date and/or number to type into the application system – what can I do?
    A:

    The stamped receipt that you were given at time of purchase should have both your Railcard expiry date and Railcard number.

    If you no longer have your stamped receipt, there is a good chance that we might have your details on our Marketing database if you have registered to receive updates from us. In this case we might be able to find the information you need if you contact us by either calling our Marketing Team on 020 7841 8062 or emailing enquiry@atoc.org.


  • Can I have a plastic and digital version of my Railcard?
    A:

    Unfortunately, you can only have one version of your Railcard – either plastic or digital. Once you have purchased your Railcard you cannot change the type of Railcard you have.


  • I have a promotion code to use towards the cost of my Railcard – it is not working. What can I do?
    A:

    Please check that you have read each character of the code correctly. We do try to use codes that are easy to read, but occasionally applicants might confuse,

    • the letter “I” with the number “1”
    • the letter “O” with the number “0”(zero)
    • the letter “S” with the number “5”.

     

    If any of these characters appear in your code, please try their alternatives. If this does not work please, call us on 0345 3000 250 and we will be able to check the status of the code you have.


  • My Railcard has not arrived in the post. What can I do?
    A:

    You will need to wait five working days and then log back in to your Railcards online account, select ‘Replace your Railcard’ and then click on the ‘Not received’ button on the left. If you then press ‘continue’ this completes the replacement application process. Please check that your address is correct before you order. You will be sent a free replacement provided you do this within 30 days of your purchase date. We believe this is long enough for a customer to notify us they have not received their Railcard.
     
    If 30 days has passed from your date of purchase you can still request a replacement card, but you will have to pay a £10 replacement fee.
     
    You’ll need to have your Railcard with you to travel on discounted Railcard tickets.


  • What methods of payment are accepted?
    A:

    We accept online payment via credit and debit cards. The cards accepted are: Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, MasterCard, MasterCard Debit, Maestro and Solo. We cannot accept American Express or Diner's Club.

    We regret that we cannot accept cheques or PayPal.


  • Can I buy a Railcard at a rail station?
    A:

    Yes. You can buy a 1-year Railcard over the counter at all staffed National Rail stations. If you do this, you can also use your birth certificate or National Identity card (for non-UK nationals) as proof of your date of birth


  • The system is not accepting my passport or driving licence – what can I do?
    A:

    If you have received an error message, please check that your date of birth, gender and passport / driving licence number have been entered correctly. When you have made the necessary changes click next. If you continue to receive an error message, please contact us so that we can help you. We can help complete your application over the phone.


  • How long do I have to wait for my Railcard to arrive?
    A:

    If you are buying your Railcard online we will despatch it within one working day, and send it free by UK Mail. Please allow five working days for your Railcard to arrive.

    You have the option of paying £6.50 for our Special Delivery service. Providing you have placed your order before 16:00pm this will guarantee that your Railcard is delivered within two days (Monday to Thursday) or three days (Friday to Sunday).

    You will not be able to collect your Railcard from a rail station. We add an extra week’s validity to your Railcard to allow for delivery time.

    If your delivery address is outside Britain, please select the digital Railcard option.

    You cannot travel on discounted tickets until you have received your Railcard. You cannot use your printed out confirmation of sale to get discount. The Railcard is the only proof of entitlement to discount that rail staff can accept.


  • The system says my passport code is “invalid”. What can I do?
    A:

    We accept machine readable passport codes from all countries except for those issued in the Philippines and Bangladesh prior to 2010. So, if you have a valid passport your passport code should work.

    When inputting your passport details into the system please ensure you are entering all characters including each chevron “<” where it appears on your passport. You will need to input:

    • 10 digits or characters into the first box
    • three letters in the second box identifying your nationality
    • seven digits in the third box
    • an F or M identifying your gender in the fourth box
    • seven digits in the fifth box
    • the last two digits of your passport code in the sixth box. If you only have one digit in this section, please add a 0 in front of it. 

    If all the above information is correct and the system says that your number is still invalid, please check that the information you have supplied on the Cardholder Details page is correct. You must:

    • use your full name as it is shown on your passport. Do not use any shortened version of your name (for example, “Bob” when you are “Robert” on your passport)
    • put your personal name in the “Your First Name” field and your family name in the “Your Surname” field
    • make sure that your gender is as it is shown on your passport

     


  • How do I make a complaint?
    A:

    In the first instance please contact Railcard Customer Services who will endeavour to resolve any issues that you have. 

    We're open from 07:00am to 22:00pm everyday of the year except for Christmas day.  You can:

    Email us:         railcardhelp@nationalrail.co.uk

    Call us on:       0345 3000 250

    Write to:         National Railcards
                            PO Box 10776
                            Ashby-de-la-Zouch
                            LE65 9FA

     If you are not satisfied with the resolution we give you are entitled to contact:

    www.transportfocus.org.uk/help/rail-complaints

    http://ec.europa.eu/odr


  • How do I purchase or renew my Railcard online?
    A:

    Simply select "Buy Online" and follow the onscreen instructions.
     
    You will need a valid passport, National Identity Card (machine readable cards from the European Economic Area only) or driving licence number to verify your eligibility online. Once your online payment has been successful you will receive an email confirmation and acknowledgement of your application number (this confirmation cannot be used to buy discounted tickets).

    Your new Railcard will be despatched within one working day by UK Mail. Please allow five working days for delivery. You will have the option of paying for Special Delivery which, providing you have placed your order before 16:00pm will guarantee that your Railcard is delivered within two days (Sunday to Thursday) or three days (Friday to Saturday).

    If your delivery address is outside Britain, please select the digital Railcard option.

    Your Railcard cannot be collected from a rail station. You will not be able to travel on discounted tickets until you have your Railcard – you cannot use the printed confirmation of sale.


  • Why would the taxpayers have to pay for a Railcard refund or extension?
    A:

    Due to the pandemic far fewer people have been travelling by train. This means that the government is offering additional financial backing to the rail industry so that services keep running to support the economy.


  • Can I buy a Senior Railcard in advance of my 60th birthday?
    A:

    If you order online then yes, you can order one up to 14 days in advance of your 60th birthday.

    Please note that you cannot buy Railcards in advance of your 60th birthday from rail stations.


  • Is my phone compatible for a digital Railcard?
    A:

    The Railcard App is available to download from the Apple Store and the Google Play store.

    The App is only compatible with devices that have the following software: Apple iOS 10 and above and Android 4.1 and above.

    The Railcard app is not compatible with Windows Phones.


  • Why can’t I have a refund or extension?
    A:

    After careful consideration, the government has confirmed to us that Railcards will remain non-refundable and will not be extended. Refunding or extending Railcards for over 5.1m customers would come at a significant cost to the taxpayer, at a time when the focus must be on maintaining rail services to support the country’s recovery from the pandemic. Please rest assured that this decision hasn’t been taken lightly and was made at the highest level.
     


  • I haven’t been able to travel by train so I should get a refund for my Railcard. Why can’t I have one?
    A:

    Rail services continued to run throughout the pandemic to support key workers and the economy. Anyone who continues to travel by train with a valid Railcard can use their Railcard discount on their journey if they are eligible to do so. Many customers can make back the £30 cost of a Railcard in just one journey, which is why they are non-refundable. 


  • I’ve never used my Railcard so why can’t I get a refund?
    A:

    When you next travel by train a valid Railcard will save you 1/3 off most rail fares. The cost of buying a Railcard can be made back in just one journey, which is why it’s included in the Terms and Conditions at the time of purchase. 


  • Why has it taken so long to update customers on refunds and extensions following lockdown?
    A:

    The rail industry and the Government have been working together on numerous proposals to try and find a way forward for Railcard customers. Unfortunately, these conversations take time, especially when they happen at the highest level. 


  • Why can’t the train companies pay for the extension?
    A:

    Due to the pandemic fewer people have been travelling by train. Funding is currently being used to keep services running to support the economy. 


  • What do I do if my Railcard is lost or damaged?
    A:

    If you bought your Railcard online, you will need to get a replacement online. You can only apply for a replacement Railcard seven or more days after the date of original purchase.
     
    You will have to pay a £10 administration fee if your Railcard was lost or damaged. 
     
    To apply for a replacement Railcard, please log into your account and follow the instructions on screen.
     
    If you bought it elsewhere, provided you can produce the completed "Receipt" portion of your original application form, then you can apply for your lost or damaged Railcard to be replaced at any staffed station ticket office. You will have to pay a £10 administration fee.
     
    Until you have your replacement Railcard, we’re sorry but you will have to pay the full fare. The lost discount is not refundable.


  • Can I renew to a digital Railcard?
    A:

    Yes! You can renew your Railcard within 30 days of its expiry to a digital or a plastic Railcard.

    Just log into your account and select 'digital' when completing the application process.


  • What do I do if my Railcard is stolen?
    A:

    If your Railcard has been stolen and you have been given a crime reference number or documents by the Police, then we will give you a free replacement.

    To replace a stolen Railcard you bought online, please log into your account and follow the replacement process, you will need to quote your crime reference number. You can also call our helpline on 0345 3000 250.

    To replace a stolen Railcard you bought at a station you need to go to a station with your crime reference number/documentation and some form of identification. You will then be issued with a complimentary Railcard.
     


  • Can I still buy a Railcard?
    A:

    Our website is functioning and 99% of people are not experiencing difficulties. Additionally, you can buy a 1-year Senior Railcard at any staffed National Rail ticket office and 3-year Railcards on our website. 


  • Can visitors to Britain buy a Railcard online?
    A:

    Yes, you can.

    If your delivery address is outside Britain, please select the digital Railcard option.

    You can also buy a Railcard at Gatwick Airport, Stansted Airport rail stations, Luton Airport Parkway and Manchester Airport – but NOT at London Heathrow Airport.


  • Do I need to prove my eligibilty again if I am applying online?
    A:

    Not if you already hold a Senior Railcard that was issued by our online service.

    If your current Railcard was issued at a rail station then you will need to give either a passport or driving licence number. You can do this by setting up an account by registering online and then following steps to link your station Railcard with the account.

     

    Please note: We recently changed the system that holds customers' data and some customers may be asked to resubmit their proof of eligibility and photo. We are sorry for the inconvenience.


  • Which train companies give Railcard discounts?
    A:

    You can use your Railcard on all franchised train operating companies that provide services within England, Scotland and Wales.

    Railcards do not give discounts on Eurostar services, Charter services, and Heritage Railways unless state otherwise.


  • I wear a burka or a niqab – will I have to show my face in the photograph?
    A:

    If you opt for a digital Railcard, you must provide a photograph. The photo should have been taken with nothing covering the outline of eyes, nose or mouth. The rail industry applies the same rules as the DVLA and Passport Agency, so photos with a person wearing a full facial burka / niqab (a veil that covers the face) are not acceptable. If a member of rail staff is unable to validate that the person on your Railcard is you, the Train Companies reserve the right to charge you the full price Standard Single fare for your journey as if no ticket was purchased before starting the journey and in some cases a Penalty Fare.


  • Can I use the Railcard in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland?
    A:

    Railcards can be used for rail discounts in the area known as Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). They cannot be used for rail travel in either in Northern Ireland nor the Republic of Ireland.

    If you live in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland you can buy a Railcard to use for travelling in Scotland, Wales or England. For more information on concessionary rail travel schemes in Northern Ireland please see www.translink.co.uk or the Republic of Ireland please see  www.irishrail.ie.


  • How can I renew my station-purchased Railcard online?
    A:

    You can renew your station-purchased Railcard within 30 days of its expiry date. Go to the homepage and click on the "Login and Manage your Account" button. From here you will be given the opportunity to "Register Your Railcard". Once you have completed this you will be given the option to renew your Railcard.


  • I bought my Railcard from a rail station and all of the information on it has faded. What can I do?
    A:

    Railcards issued at stations are printed on paper. On rare occasions, the way that the surface of the Railcard interacts with the plastic in some ticket wallets destabilises the print and makes it fade. If this has happened to your Railcard you can take it into a staffed rail station and they will replace it free of charge. Most stations will be able to check the validity of the Railcards by running it through the ticket–issuing machine to check when it was originally issued.


  • I am getting the message "Internal Server Error" during the application process. What can I do?
    A:

    The “Internal Server Error” message is a generic error message which relates to issues to do with the way your browser is interfacing with the Railcard website. Sometimes this problem can occur if you are using compatibility mode in Internet Explorer (versions IE10 and lower).  

    In Internet Explorer 10 you can click the compatibility mode button to switch it on or off. 

    In Internet Explorer 11 there is no compatibility mode button so to access the Compatibility settings you will need to click on the Settings icon. In the menu that is subsequently displayed you will find “Compatibility View Settings” – click this. In the Settings panel that displays, make sure that railcard.co.uk is not the box entitled, “Websites you’ve added to compatibility view”.  If it is please click on the entry and click the remove button, then click to close it.


  • Can I buy tickets at a discounted rate before my Railcard arrives?
    A: No. You must carry your Railcard with you on any journey where you have bought discounted tickets with the Railcard. Therefore, if you buy discounted Railcard tickets before you receive your Railcard, you do this at your own risk.

  • How can I change my address details if I am an online Railcard customer?
    A: Simply Log in and enter your email address and password. Choose “Edit your details” to edit your address.

  • The system won't accept my driving licence code - can you help?
    A: If you are using a driving licence to apply, please make sure that the name you use to apply for your Railcard is typed into your application in exactly the same format in which it is shown on your driving licence.

    This means that if an apostrophe or hyphen in your name has been left out of your name on your driving licence you need to leave it out of the name you use for your Railcard.

    For example, if your name is “O’brian” and it is shown as “Obrian” (without the apostrophe) on your driving licence, then you should type it as “Obrian” in your Railcard application.

  • Can I use a provisional driving licence to apply online?
    A: Yes. Provisional driving licences can be used to demonstrate your age to our online system

  • What happens if I have no battery life or can’t show my Railcard?
    A: If you don’t have any battery life, or have forgotten your device, it won't be possible to check that your Railcard discount is valid.

    You could be asked to buy a single ticket for your journey, or be issued with a Penalty Fare.

    If do you get caught out while travelling, you can make one claim a year to be refunded for any extra fare or penalty you incur.

     


  • Why can’t I add my Railcard to another device?
    A:

    You can store your digital Railcard on up to two devices at a time.

    If you want to add it to a third, you will need to remove it from one of your existing devices through your account.


  • How quickly will I get my new digital Railcard?
    A:

     In most cases, you should get your Railcard instantly.

     


  • I bought my current Senior Railcard from the online service, it is about to expire, how do I renew it?
    A: Providing the expiry date of your Railcard is within 30 days you will be able to renew it. Just log back into your account and select your Railcard from your account summary screen, confirm your details and make your payment. Your renewed Railcard will then be sent to you.

  • Can I use my Railcard to buy my ticket on the train rather than at a station?
    A: Only if there is no ticket office, or the ticket office is closed and there is no ticket machine available to buy your discounted ticket at the station at which you began your journey. If this is the case you can buy your discounted ticket from ontrain staff. Otherwise, if ticket facilities were available at the station you could be charged the full price Standard Single fare.

  • Can I use my Railcard to buy tickets for other people?
    A: No. The Railcard is for your use only, and provides discounts only on tickets bought for your own use. It does not cover anyone accompanying you.

  • Will I have to pay the full fare if I forget to bring my Railcard when I travel?
    A: Yes. You must show your valid Railcard when you buy your ticket. You also need to have your Railcard with you on each journey and present it to staff when your ticket is checked aboard the train. Failure to present both your Railcard will mean you have to pay a full fare, which is not refundable.

  • Can I reserve my seat if booking a ticket in advance?
    A: Yes, providing that there are reservations available on the service on which you are travelling. Many train companies will allow you to reserve a seat free of charge on longer distance journeys. Please check with the local ticket office staff before buying tickets.

  • Can I get a discount on Season tickets and period Travelcards with a Railcard?
    A: No, we’re sorry but the Railcard gives no discount on these types of ticket.

  • Will I receive the Railcard discount on any chargeable items I take on the train with me?
    A: The Railcard discount does not cover charges on various articles or animals. For details about which items carry a charge, and details of the charges, please call National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50.

  • Can I use my Railcard in conjunction with Train Company special offers?
    A: Yes. You can use it with the 2FOR1 Days Out Guide promotions and most offers given by train companies. Please note that your Railcard may get you the full 1/3 discount on some Train Company special offers, but many offers include a smaller discount or no discount at all. It's best to ask at your local station for details of a specific offer, or call National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50. Alternatively, you can visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.

  • Can I use my Railcard to save on more than just train travel?
    A: Yes. Please see our Member’s Area for the latest offers.

  • Links to Railcard Terms & Conditions
    A:

    There are important terms and conditions that you need to understand before you use your Railcard. Please click on the link to the Railcard you are purchasing to read the terms and conditions relevant to you:

    16-25 Railcard - terms and conditions

    Family & Friends Railcard - terms and conditions

    Senior Railcard - terms and conditions

    Two Together Railcard - terms and conditions


  • Can I travel on discounted tickets if my Railcard expires before I complete my journey?
    A:

    Discounted tickets are only valid if you are using them with a valid Railcard. If you Railcard expires before the end of your journey then you will need to renew it to be able to complete your trip using expired tickets. If the only Railcard you have is expired you will not be able to continue to use your discounted tickets.


  • What happens if I don't have my Railcard with me and I have to buy a new ticket or pay a Penalty Fare?
    A:

    If you are travelling by train on a ticket with a Railcard discount, you must travel with your valid Railcard. If you forget your Railcard you will either be required to buy a new ticket or you may on certain services be liable for a Penalty Fare. However, a train company will normally allow you to claim back this extra expense on the first occasion in each year where this happens.

    Each train company will have their own process for doing this. You will need to provide proof of your Railcard and either the original and additional tickets that you have purchased, or if you have not yet paid, details of the notice to pay or notice of Penalty Fare. Where you have already paid for additional tickets you should contact the relevant train company’s customer services department; in the case of a notice to pay of notice of Penalty Fare, you should follow the instructions included on how to challenge or appeal the charge.


  • Are there any offers I can benefit from as a Railcard holder?
    A: Yes. Please see our Member’s Area



Can't find an answer? Get in touch

If you are having problems purchasing your Railcard, or if you have comments about the Railcard service, call or email us. You can also write using the postal address.

railcardhelp@nationalrail.co.uk

0345 3000 250 (07:00hrs to 22:00hrs)

National Railcards
PO Box 10776
Ashby-de-la-Zouch
LE65 9FA

 

Train Companies

If you have any questions concerning rail ticket prices or journey planning National Rail Enquiries will be happy to help you.

If you have any comments about a specific rail journey please contact the train company that provides the service. You can find their contact details by clicking on this link train company list.

 

Transport Focus

If, after contacting us, you remain unhappy with any aspect of our service you may want to contact the independent transport watchdog, Transport Focus. Contact details are shown below:

Email: advice@transportfocus.org.uk

Phone: 0300 123 0860

Freepost RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ
Transport Focus
PO Box 5594
Southend on Sea
SS1 9PZ

 
railcardhelp@nationalrail.co.uk
0345 3000 250 (07:00hrs to 22:00hrs)
National Railcards
PO Box 10776
Ashby-de-la-Zouch
LE65 9FA

 

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4
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