Smartcards

Discover a smarter way to travel.

Smartcards look like plastic credit cards and hold your ticket details electronically. They can be used for Season, return and single tickets on many of our trains plus Travelcards for travelling around London. Smartcards save you time queueing for tickets at stations, they’re better for the environment because they reduce the use of paper, and they’re much more durable than paper tickets, so you can use them over and over again. There is no charge for a South Western Railway (SWR) Smartcard.

Once you’ve got a Smartcard, you can book just 2 hours before travelling, online (Season tickets only) or by phone, then activate your ticket by touching in at your chosen station. You can also buy tickets at our ticket machines and load them onto your SWR Smartcard on the spot.

At a station with automatic ticket gates you’ll no longer need to feed your ticket through the gate to enter or leave the station – simply touch your SWR Smartcard on the reader, taking care to keep all other contactless cards away from the reader.

If you’ve got a Season ticket with 3 months or more remaining, you can swap your paper ticket for an SWR Smartcard at no cost.

To find out if you can use an SWR Smartcard for your journey, check our Smart Ticketing Route Map. Currently you can use our SWR Smartcards for journeys on South Western Railway trains as shown on the map, plus certain other journeys if it has a Travelcard loaded on it – see the FAQs below.

If you are renewing your smart season ticket for a period of one month or longer, you may qualify for a 5% discount. Call 0345 810 1010 to check if your season ticket qualifies and to purchase your reduced price ticket.

Getting started

1. Order your free SWR Smartcard

To order your SWR Smartcard, click here or call our Customer Service Centre on 0345 810 1010. Your card will be sent by post – please allow 7 days for it to reach you.

2. Buy your ticket

Once you’ve got your SWR Smartcard, you can buy tickets from our self-service ticket machines or by calling our Customer Service Centre on 0345 810 1010. You can buy Season tickets either of these ways and also online.

3. Collect

If you buy a ticket online or over the phone, you need to load your ticket onto your SWR Smartcard by touching in on a Smartcard reader at your chosen station – please allow at least 2 hours after you buy before doing so. If you buy your ticket at a ticket machine, you’ll load the ticket straight away by touching your SWR Smartcard on the machine’s reader.

Swapping your Season ticket for a Smartcard

If you want to swap your paper Season ticket for a Smartcard, you’ll need to have at least 3 months remaining on your ticket. If you have less than this, follow the steps above to get an SWR Smartcard and then add your new Season ticket on it when it comes up for renewal – you can do this using a ticket machine, by phone or online.

1. Order your free SWR Smartcard

To swap your Season ticket, first order an SWR Smartcard – through here or call our Customer Service Centre on 0345 810 1010. Your card will be sent by post – please allow 7 days for it to reach you.

2. Call us

Once you’ve got your SWR Smartcard, call our Customer Service Centre on  0345 810 1010.

3. Collect

Touch in on a Smartcard reader at a station gate or platform to load your Season ticket to your SWR Smartcard, and hand in your old paper ticket at the ticket office at your chosen station.

Important information about using your SWR Smartcard

Where a Season ticket is loaded onto your SWR Smartcard, it is only valid when accompanied by a National Rail photocard, and you must show this when asked. Your SWR Smartcard will have your name printed on the front, and this name must match the name on your National Rail photocard. If you don’t already have one, you can get a National Rail photocard from our ticket offices – bring a passport-size photo.

Tickets must be loaded onto your SWR Smartcard before you board the train. If you buy tickets online or over the phone, you cannot load these onto your Smartcard at a ticket machine, only by touching it to a gate or platform card reader.

You need to touch in by placing your Smartcard on the reader as you pass through the ticket gates – or where there are no ticket gates, on a platform validator – before boarding your train. Take care to keep all other contactless cards clear – such as Oyster cards, credit/debit cards or building passes – to avoid ‘card-clash’.

Onboard staff will pass through the train and check everyone’s tickets. They’ll use a reader to scan your SWR Smartcard. If you’re travelling on a Season ticket, you must show your National Rail photocard at the same time.

At the end of your journey you need to touch out by placing your Smartcard on a reader at the automatic ticket gate, or platform validator if there are no gates.

Any Questions? Please see our most frequently asked questions regarding Smartcard's.