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The Key Smartcard

Buy or renew season tickets online with the Key Smartcard

Register now

The Key Smartcard offers an easier and faster way to buy, renew and use train tickets, compared to paper tickets.

If your journey is necessary, our Key Smartcard is a great option, to minimise social contact. We will send it to your home, you can buy and renew your ticket online, then just tap the key card and go!

Other options to minimise social contact

  • If you are not travelling as frequently as before, keyGo is our pay as you go option, which might be a suitable alternative for you. Find out more
  • Contactless pay as you go is a convenient way to travel within London. There is no need to top up or queue for tickets at the station, so just tap in and out with your debit or credit card. Find out more
  • Etickets are a great way to get tickets emailed to you, so you don’t have to queue to collect your tickets at the station. Just select ‘eticket’ as delivery option when you book a ticket. Find out more
  • If you have a Railcard, you can benefit from great discounts. Buy your ticket online, and add your railcard info, to start saving. Find out more

Is it right for me?

Which smart ticketing product is best for me? Compare The Key Smartcard and KeyGo bolt on feature.

Tickets available Key Smartcard  KeyGo 
Buy weekly, monthly or annual season tickets online Yes No
Weekly, monthly or annual Travelcard season tickets for the Tube, buses, trams, trains and the Docklands Light Railway Yes No
Anytime single and return tickets Yes No
*Off-Peak single and return tickets Yes No
Pay as you go No Yes

*Pay as you go on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink.

How do I use The Key Smartcard

Set up and use your Key Smartcard for train travel in 3 easy steps.

  1. Register for The Key Smartcard and purchase your ticket online in one go
  2. Your card will arrive in the post
  3. Buy more tickets as and when you need to. You can hold up to 5 tickets onto your Smartcard at once.

There is no charge for The Key Smartcard.

Make sure you tap the gate or card reader (where available) at the start and end of your journey.

Find out more


Got some questions? Take a look at some frequently asked questions about using The Key Smartcard for train travel.

You can travel by train with The Key Smartcard at most stations on the Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink network, and you can travel on Gatwick Express if your ticket is valid on that service.

Our Key Smartcard works on the South Western Railway network as well, so you can tap in at any South Western Railway station. You can buy a South Western Railway Smart ticket on our website, load it on to your Key Smartcard, and collect it from any South Western Railway station.

Smart Season tickets are also available for travel on Southern and Southeastern services to Tonbridge, Ashford International and beyond.

Download the map for full details

Ticket type Buy online Buy at ticket machines (non Oyster machines only)
Annual season tickets and Travelcard season tickets for Tube, buses, London Trams, trains and the Docklands Light Railway  Yes No
Monthly or weekly season ticket  Yes Yes
Anytime single and return tickets  No Yes
Off-Peak single and return tickets  No Yes

Ticket machines between Waterbeach and Kings Lynn are coming soon.

When you buy a ticket online you must collect it from your chosen station. You can also purchase a ticket from any of our ticket machines outside of London.

*Super Off-Peak tickets are not currently available.

KeyGo allows you to use your Key Smartcard for pay-as-you-go travel. When using KeyGo we’ll only charge you for travel you take outside of any season tickets you also hold on The Key Smartcard.

If you add KeyGo to your key card, you need to make sure that you tap in and out at the start and end of your trip to avoid being charged a £25 incomplete journey fee.

Find out more

You can find cycle hub storage at the following stations:

  • Brighton
  • Horsham
  • Dorking
  • Haywards Heath
  • Lewes

Find out more

Need to know more?

For more information about The Key Smartcard, take a look at the handy links below:

Season Ticket identification

For season tickets held on The Key Smartcard, you may need to produce identification to prove that the card is yours. Suitable forms of identification include a pink photocard (which can be obtained from ticket offices), a passport or driving licence. If you are using your Key Smartcard for train travel on another operator’s services, you will need to obtain a pink photocard if you don’t already hold one.

Automatic delay repay

By tapping in and out with The Key Smartcard, we can work out if you are owed any compensation for travel delays. Find out how in the video below.

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Don't have The Key Smartcard?

Register for The Key Smartcard online to receive the smarter way to travel