South Western Railway touch smartcard

Using a smartcard

Discover a smarter way to buy tickets and travel

How can I buy and add tickets for my Touch Smartcard?

There are various ways to buy and add tickets for your smartcard.

Online

You can buy weekly, monthly, monthly plus and annual season tickets (including London Travelcards) and Flexi Season tickets through our website. You can also sign up for our monthly auto-renewal scheme and Tap2Go.

When buying your ticket online, it will be available to add onto your smartcard from the station where it will be available after two hours. Add the ticket by ‘touching in’ on the yellow reader on the gate or validator. It is important that you allow time for your ticket to added onto your smartcard. Just hold your smartcard still on the yellow reader for a few seconds and remove it when the gate opens or when the reader makes a bleep sound and shows a green light. We suggest adding your Flexi Season ticket when you want to make your first journey as it will also activate a day pass.

App

Buy Flexi Season tickets, weekly season tickets, monthly season tickets, single and return train tickets through the SWR app. In ticket delivery options choose ‘Load ticket onto smartcard’. Once you’ve paid for your ticket, it can be added to your smartcard from all Android operating systems with NFC and iPhones with iOS 13 or later. You can also pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal.

Alternatively, in the case of Flexi Season, weekly and monthly season tickets, you can choose to collect season tickets from the station where it will be available after two hours when you ‘touch in’ on the reader on the gate or validator.

Ticket machines

You can buy weekly, monthly and monthly plus season tickets, and daily tickets for your smartcard straight away using self-service ticket machines outside the London Travelcard area. The machine will ask you to add your ticket onto your smartcard after buying it. You do this by holding the smartcard on the ticket machine reader and waiting for confirmation that the ticket has been added. It’s important that you add your ticket onto your smartcard before you get on the train.

You’ll need to enter your National Rail photocard number and postcode when buying a season ticket at a ticket machine.

Ticket office

You can get a free smartcard and buy a range of tickets for your smartcard including season tickets, Flexi Season and day tickets from a growing number of our ticket offices. You can find the list of stations here.

If you are buying your ticket from a ticket office your ticket will be added onto your smartcard before you leave the counter.

Please note

Auto-renewal monthly season tickets (which automatically renew each month) and pay as you go Tap2Go tickets are only available online. Flexi Season tickets are available online, on the SWR app and from our ticket offices. You can only buy daily single and return tickets from the SWR app, station ticket machines and a growing number of ticket offices.

How do I use my smartcard?

Once your tickets are added onto your smartcard you can travel as normal.

Keep your smartcard away from other cards (like building passes, contactless bank cards, Oyster cards etc) as they can stop it from working. You can keep your smartcard in a wallet as you pass through the gates, but make sure it’s stored on its own.

Remember to touch in and touch out

You must ‘touch in’ and ‘touch out’ when you start and finish your journey. Simply touch your smartcard on the yellow reader on the gate or validator.

A National Rail Photo ID is required when travelling with a season ticket (except Flexi Season tickets) and should be presented when requested. Your local station can create one for you if you provide a passport photo.

Checking your smartcard

To check you have a valid ticket on your smartcard before you travel, hold your smartcard on the reader at any self-service ticket machine outside the London Travelcard area or ask at the ticket office where available. You can also download the free National Rail Smartcard Manager app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store that will allow you to check your smartcard using your smartphone.



Where can I use my Touch Smartcard?

You can use your smartcard for single, return and season train tickets on the South Western Railway network and most journeys across Britain, but check using the National Rail smart map before you buy your ticket.

If you have a zones 1-6 London Travelcard added onto your smartcard, you have unlimited travel within London on the Underground, Overground, TfL Rail, Docklands Light Railway, buses, trams, and most National Rail services in London.

Which tickets can I buy from my SWR app to add onto my Touch Smartcard?

You can currently buy Flexi Season tickets, weekly season tickets, monthly season tickets, single and return train tickets to add from the SWR app onto your smartcard.

Digital eTickets are also available if you’re buying single and return tickets on the app.

How do I buy a ticket from my SWR app and add it straight onto my smartcard?

Buy your ticket in the SWR app and in ticket delivery options choose ‘Load ticket onto smartcard’.

Once you’ve paid for your ticket, it can be added to your smartcard. We recommend placing your smartcard in the centre on the back of your phone.

This is available on all Android operating systems with NFC and iPhones with iOS 13 or later.

Do I need to add the ticket from my SWR app onto my smartcard straight away?

We recommend adding your ticket as soon as you have bought it.

If you'd prefer to add it later, your ticket will be stored in ‘My Tickets’ in the app.