Frequently Asked Questions?

Most frequently asked questions

  • Can I get a refund or extension if I have been unable to use my Railcard during lockdown?
    A:

    Unfortunately no. After careful consideration, the government has confirmed to us that Railcards will remain non-refundable and will not be extended. Refunding or extending Railcards 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • How can I buy a digital Railcard?
    A:

    Digital Railcards can be bought through the Family & Friends Railcard website 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 use my Railcard for tickets for travel on the London Underground?
    A:

    With your Railcard you can get 1/3 off Anytime Day Travelcard when bought as part of your journey to London from outside London Zones 1-9 (subject to a minimum fare which is currently £19.60).


  • 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


  • Family & Friends 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 Family & Friends Railcard terms and conditions to read these:

    Family & Friends Railcard - terms and conditions

     


  • 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 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 Railcard to buy tickets for other people?
    A:

    Yes. As long as either you (as the main Railcard holder) or the second named Railcard holder is travelling with a child, up to a total of four adults and four children travelling together can get discounts.

    Discounted price tickets purchased by a Family & Friends Railcard holder should be issued for travel for the same origin and destination and should normally be of the same ticket type (example all Off-Peak Returns). 

     


  • 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 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.


  • Can I use my Family & Friends 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.


  • How do I use the online service to renew a Railcard I bought at a station?
    A:

    To renew a Railcard that you have previously bought at a station, select 'Register a Railcard' on the Login/Buy Online page and type in the required information.

     

    Once you have completed this you will be shown a Review screen. If you want to use a promotional code, click on the Edit button in “2. Railcard Details and Promotional Codes” to enter your promotional code before you pay.


  • How can I renew my 1-year Railcard up to a 3-year Railcard?
    A:

    Log into your account as an Existing User and chose to renew your expiring 1-year Railcard.

    Once you have completed this you will be shown a Review screen. Click on the Edit button in “2. Railcard Details and Promotional Codes” and change the type to a 3-year Railcard.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 on by either calling our Marketing Team on 020 7841 8062 or emailing enquiry@atoc.org.


  • 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.


  • 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 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 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.


  • 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.


  • Can I buy a Railcard for another person?
    A:

    Yes, you can buy a Family & Friends Railcard for a friend or family member if they are eligible. You will need to supply the evidence (such as a passport or driving licence code) to prove their eligibility.

    To order the Railcard, log in to your account (or register one if you do not already have one) and then when you get to the question, "Is this Railcard for you or someone else?" choose the option for "someone else" and continue the process. You will have the option of having the Railcard delivered to the UK address of your choosing. The Railcard will then be sent along with information as to how the Railcard holder can create their Railcard account if they wish.


  • 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.


  • How can I change my name and contact details if I am an online Railcard customer
    A:

    Please go to "Login and Manage your account" from the homepage to log in to your account. You will be given the option to update your details from your account summary screen.


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

    Simply select "Buy Online" on website and follow the onscreen instructions.
     
    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 will guarantee that your Railcard is delivered by the following morning providing that your order is made before 16:00pm on the date of purchase. We’re sorry, but 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.

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


  • 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.


  • 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/


  • 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.


  • Am I eligible to use a Family & Friends Railcard?
    A:

    Any adult can buy a Family & Friends Railcard. To use it, at least one of the group travelling must be named on the Railcard and there must also be at least one child travelling on a child rate ticket. The named Railcard holder must travel for the entire journey with any passengers who have been bought discounted tickets.


  • What happens if my child turns 16 while my Family & Friends Railcard is still valid?
    A:

    Children who turn 16 while your Family & Friends Railcard is valid are still entitled to get a discounted child fare for a time.

    If you have a 1-year Family & Friends Railcard, your child who has turned 16 can travel as long as the 1-year Family & Friends Railcard is valid.

    If you have a 3-year Family & Friends Railcard, your 16-year old can only travel as a child on the Railcard card until the day before they turn 17.


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • My child is under five. Can I still use a Family & Friends Railcard?
    A: Children under five years of age travel for free so do not have to have a ticket for travel. However, at least one child in your group will need to have a child rate ticket for you to be able to use a Family & Friends Railcard. So, if the children in your group are all four years of age or younger, you can buy one of them a discounted child ticket so that any accompanying adult can benefit Family & Friends Railcard discount.

  • Who can be a named Family & Friends Railcard holder?
    A: Any two adults can be named cardholders, and they can take up to four children with them. The second cardholder can be any adult that might spend time with your children such as a friend, grandparent, or childminder.

  • 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.

     


  • 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(s). 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 to save on more than just train travel?
    A: Yes. Please see our Member’s Area for the latest offers.

  • Can I laminate the paper Railcard I have bought from a station to protect it?
    A:

    No. Please do not laminate your Railcard. In most instances the heat of a laminating machine will turn the surface of your Railcard black, damaging it and making it illegible. If this happens you will need to buy a replacement Railcard (for a fee of £10 if you have had no previous replacements).

    Laminated Railcards cannot be accepted by rail staff as the lamination makes it difficult to validate that the Railcard has not been tampered with.

    To protect your Railcard please keep it in a plastic ticket wallet which is available for free from any staffed station.


  • My Family & Friends 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.



Can't find an answer? 

If the answer to your question is not in the above or you are having problems purchasing your Railcard, you can contact us

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. To find their contact details see the list of Train Operating Companies