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The Key Smartcard

Durable. Renew online. Auto Delay Repay notifications.

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The Key Smartcard is a smartcard for train travel that offers an easier and faster way to buy, renew and use train tickets. It’s completely free, won’t wear out, and comes with lots of additional benefits and rewards.

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
PlusBus tickets for traveling in Crawley and Brighton, excluding Newhaven and Seaford stations 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 load up to 5 tickets onto your key card at once.

There is no charge for The Key Smartcard.

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

Find out more

Where can I use The Key Smartcard?

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 services if your ticket is valid on that service. 


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

Where can I purchase tickets for my Key Smartcard?

Ticket type Buy online Buy at ticket machines (non Oyster machines only)
Annual season tickets and Travelcard season tickets for Tube, buses, London Trains, 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

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.

What is KeyGo?

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

Which stations have cycle hub storage?

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