Frequently Asked Questions?

Most frequently asked questions

  • Can’t find your 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 code.

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


  • Why doesn’t my download code 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 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 Railcard?
    A:

    If you have already purchased a digital Railcard, then you should have received an email which contains a download code. Once this download code is entered within the app, your Railcard should appear. If you open the email on the device you wish to add your Railcard to, just tap the link and we’ll handle the rest. Alternatively, within the app, tap the ‘+’ button on the My Railcard screen and manually enter the download code you found in your email.

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


  • What is this download code that I need?
    A:

    The download code allows you to add a purchased Railcard to this app. The download code is found within the email confirmation you would have received after completing your Railcard application.

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


  • I haven't received my download code yet
    A:

    At times, due to high demand, receiving your code might take longer than usual. It can take up for 30min to arrive.

    If that happens, log in to your account and go to 'Manage Railcard' where you will be able to see your code.

    If you are still having issues with your download code, please contact us railcardhelp@nationalrail.co.uk

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


  • What happens if I lose my phone?
    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 26-30 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 the digital 26-30 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.


  • 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).
     
    With an Oyster card, you can get your Railcard discount loaded onto your Oyster card to save 1/3 on single off-peak pay as you go fares on London Underground and Docklands Light Railway services in London. You will need to have registered your Oyster in your name to do this. Simply take your Oyster card and valid Railcard to a London Underground station and ask a member of staff to set the discount for you. You can also get the discount set at Oyster Ticket Shops and Visitor Centres.


  • Why can I not add my Railcard to more than two devices?
    A:

    You can load your Railcard onto a maximum of two devices at any point in time. This benefit is only available to digital Railcard holders as you can only ever have one plastic Railcard. If you want to move your digital Railcard onto a third device, you will need to disassociate one of your existing devices through the website where you bought your Railcard.


  • Can I use my Railcard on the date of expiry?
    A:

    Yes. Your Railcard is valid up until and including the date shown on your Railcard.


  • How can I dissociate a device?
    A:

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


  • How can I change my address details if I am an online Railcard customer?
    A:

    Please log into your account from the homepage and go to ‘Manage your Railcard’. You will be given the option to update your details from your account summary screen


  • How do I buy my 26-30 Railcard for the first time?
    A:

    Please select "Buy Online" and follow the instructions. To demonstrate that you are eligible for a Railcard you will need a digital passport-style photo, saved on your computer, and either: 

    a valid passport

    • a valid UK driving licence number

    • a valid National Identity Card (Machine readable cards from the European Economic Area only)

    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 available instantly


  • Can I use my Railcard on any Train Company?
    A:

    Yes. Your Railcard is accepted by all of the Train Companies who operate Passenger Railway Services in Great Britain, except Eurostar.

    Special excursions and charters are also excluded.


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

    Not if you already hold a 26-30 Railcard and you are between 26 and 30 years of age.

    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.


  • 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 phone or don't have 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.


  • 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.


  • How can I buy a Railcard?
    A:

    To purchase a Railcard, tap the ‘+’ button, within the app, on the My Railcard screen and choose the Railcard you’d like to buy! You will need to fill out a short form, but then you will get your Railcard instantly


  • I am having trouble uploading my photo for my 26-30 Railcard – what can I do?
    A:

    We're sorry that you've experienced problems whilst uploading a photograph. There can be a number of causes of this - some of which are difficult to diagnose. We’ve compiled a list of trouble-shooting tips that you can try before contacting us:

    • Retry the photo upload. Close your web browser before restarting it and logging in again

     

    • Enable JavaScript on your web browser. Your web browser may be configured in a way that it makes uploading the photo more difficult (such as. having the JavaScript disabled).  Please check your settings and ensure that JavaScript is enabled

     

    • Make sure you have up-to-date web browser software. Although our website supports the top browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Opera), some older versions of these browsers are more likely to cause problems uploading image files to our website. Try updating your web browser to the latest version, or try a different web browser/computer

     

    • Make sure your image is 5 megabytes (5Mb) in size or less. We accept images up to 5Mb in size but the smaller the file the better - it will take less time to transfer to our servers. Crop your photograph before uploading and/or reduce the quality but be careful - the picture still needs to be clear enough to print on the Railcard

     

    • Check that your internet service provider (ISP) is not experiencing problems. These are often difficult to detect but if other websites are unusually slow (especially noticeable when downloading images), then your ISP may be having network issues or might be congested. You may want to check with your ISP by visiting their 'service status' webpage

    If you have done all the above and are still experiencing problems, then please call us on 0345 3000 250.


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

    Yes, you can buy a 26-30 Railcard for a friend or family member if they are eligible for the Railcard you are getting them. 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.


  • 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.


  • I can’t find my year of birth in the drop-down menu in the “Your Date of Birth” section of the application. What can I do?
    A:

    To buy this Railcard, you must be aged 26 - 30 years old. The range of birth dates for applicants is set to those eligible to the Railcard.


  • 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 every day 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 


  • 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

  • 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 3-year 26-30 Railcard?
    A:

    The 26-30 Railcard is only available for 1 year.


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

    Yes you can.

     

     


  • What is an acceptable image to use for my Railcard photograph?
    A:

    The image should be a good recognisable likeness of you.

    We prefer colour pictures but black and white images are acceptable. Your head and shoulders should be in close-up, with your face clearly visible and filling approximately 70% of the frame (in the same way it would for a passport or driving licence). The image must be in sharp focus.

    Please make sure that your face is not obscured by hats or hair.

    The file of your photo must be either a .jpg, .bmp, or a .gif and must not exceed 5MB with a resolution of at least 300dpi. We will reject photos if they are not appropriate and ask you for a more suitable image.


  • 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. 
     


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

    GWR's Night Riveria Sleeper service (between London and the West of England): There are no discounts on Sleeper package products. If you buy a valid train ticket for your journey with a Railcard discount, you can then purchase a Sleeper berth supplement. There is no Railcard discount on the berth supplement.

    Caledonian Sleeper service (between Scotland and London): Discounts don't apply on tickets for travel in Sleeper or Seated accommodation with a route Caledonian Sleeper only. See Caledonian Sleeper website for further information on fares and tickets. 


  • How long until the issue is fixed?
    A:

    Our website is now working although a few intermittent technical issues remain, of which we are aware and which are impacting a very small amount of cases. We are working continuously to resolve any difficulties and minimise the disruption.  We will notify customers when all the issues have been fixed and apologise sincerely for the inconvenience caused.  


  • Why am I having difficulties getting my Railcard?
    A:

    Our website recently underwent essential, planned maintenance to upgrade and improve existing technology and enable a much quicker, smoother buying process. This was the biggest upgrade in 7 years and the core maintenance was completed within a 24-hour period. While 99% of people are using the website without any problems, some outstanding issues have been identified and we are working continuously to bring these to a close as a matter of urgency, while ensuring that we apply suitable due diligence to resolve these and ensure our customers’ data security. We apologise sincerely for any difficulties.


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

    All customers 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.


  • Are there any offers I can benefit from as a Railcard holder?
    A:

    Yes. Please see our Member’s Area


  • How much is a 26-30 Railcard?
    A: A one-year Railcard costs £30

  • Why is the title "Mx" not available when I come to make payment?
    A: If you have given your title as "Mx" during the application process then this will be shown on your Railcard and in all correspondence that we have with you. However, the secure payment process is delivered by our Payment Provider and we are only able to offer the range of titles that it provides.

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

  • 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.


  • 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 a Railcard at a rail station?
    A: No. The 26-30 Railcard is only be available to purchase online via our website.

  • Can I use the Railcard to travel anywhere?
    A:

    YES! It is valid yo travel throughout Great Britain so you can use the Railcard to buy tickets anywhere across the National Rail network.


  • Who can buy the Railcard?
    A:

    If you’re aged between 26 and 30 you can get one.


  • How quickly will I get my new card?
    A:

    Your digital Railcard will be made available to you within moments of completing the application.


  • What happens if I have no battery or can’t show my Railcard?
    A:

    If you don’t have any battery or have forgotten your phone, unfortunately there will be no way for us to prove that you are eligible for the Railcard discount. As a result, 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


  • I couldn’t show my Railcard on a journey and have been issued a full-fare! What can I do?
    A:

    Unfortunate things happen. We’re all guilty of running out of battery, leaving our phones at home or smashing screens. Thankfully, if you get caught out while travelling with a valid Railcard, you can make one claim a year, to be compensated for a penalty you’ve incurred. To do this, you will need to visit the website for the train company who issued you the penalty and contact their customer service centre.

    For a list of all train companies in Great Britain and their contact details, please click here >>

    (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/tocs_maps/tocs/TrainOperators.aspx)


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

    The 26-30 Railcard is only available as digital.


  • Can you get a 26-30 Railcard when you’re 31?
    A:

    No. You must be between 26-30 to buy a 1-year 26-30 Railcard.

    You can buy it up to and including the day before your 31st birthday and keep using it until its expiry date.


  • I am aged between 26 and 30 years old, how do I renew my Railcard?
    A:

    Providing the expiry date of your Railcard is within 30 days you will be able to renew it by logging into your account.

    You can renew your Railcard if it is due to expire before your 31st birthday.

    Just select your Railcard from your account summary screen, confirm your details and make your payment. 


  • I am aged between 26 and 30 years old. My current Railcard is due to expire just after my 31st birthday - can I renew it early?
    A:

    No. You will not be able to renew a Railcard if its date of issue is after your 31st birthday.

    However, you can still buy another 26-30 Railcard by setting up another account using an alternative address and making your purchase just before your 31st birthday.

    We will not be able to refund you for any over-lapping period of validity between the two Railcards.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 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.

  • 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.


  • 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 your Railcard will mean you have to pay a full fare, which is not refundable.


  • 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.

  • 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 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 26-30 Railcard at any time of day?
    A:

    Yes you can.

    However, a minimum fare applies for all journeys made between 4.30am and 10am Monday to Friday.

    At the time of publishing the minimum fare is £12.

    There is no minimum fare when you travel at weekends, on Public Holidays.

    If you travel regularly before 10am, then a weekly or monthly season ticket may be more appropriate, though you won’t be able to get a Railcard discount.


  • 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.


  • What do I do if I'm a mature student?
    A:

    If you are aged 26-30 years old and still in full-time education, you can choose whether to buy a 26-30 Railcard, or buy a 16-25 Railcard as a mature student.

    Mature students who are over the age of 30, can only choose the 16-25 Railcard option




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