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There are two ways to get a ScotRail Smartcard:

You can choose a photo or non-photo Smartcard when you apply:

  • Photo Smartcard: Choose for Season Tickets, single, return or Flexipass tickets, any SPT Subway ticket, and for optional extras such as Club 50 membership, Highland Railcard or Under 25 Advance
  • Non-photo Smartcard: Choose if you only buy single, return or Flexipass tickets, or SPT Pay As You Go credit

You should receive your Smartcard within five working days.

No. Your first ScotRail Smartcard is free – but we may charge a replacement fee in some circumstances.

Some of our Smartcard products are age-dependent. We need your date of birth so we can offer you the relevant range of products.

You'll need to upload a passport-style photo if you're applying for a photo Smartcard. Your photo will be printed on the card.

You can’t buy a Smart Season Ticket without a photo Smartcard, and other Smart products – such as Club 50 membership, Under 25 Advance Purchase and Highland Railcard – also need a photo Smartcard.

You won't be asked to upload a photo if you're applying for a non-photo Smartcard (a Smartcard that doesn't have your photo printed on it). You can buy Smart single, return and Flexipass tickets, and SPT Pay As You Go credit to put on a non-photo Smartcard.

A photo Smartcard is our most flexible card. Because it has a photo of you printed on it, you can:

  • Use for all tickets on ScotRail services:
    • Season Tickets
    • Anytime and Off-Peak singles and returns
    • Super Off-Peak Day Returns
    • Flexipass 10
  • Use for all SPT Subway tickets including Season Tickets
  • Add other products you may be eligible for at any time e.g. Highland Railcard

If you join Club 50 in the future, you’ll need to apply for a separate Club 50 Smartcard.

You’ll be shown how to upload a photo when you apply online. You can either upload a photograph or take a fresh one with your device's camera – simply follow the instructions on screen.

Photo rules

  • The picture must be a photo of you and nothing else
  • It must be of passport picture quality (light background, only head and shoulders visible, face not covered and in focus)
  • Your face must be evenly and well lit
  • Your face must not be obscured by hats or hair
  • We prefer colour pictures but black and white images are acceptable too

If your Season Ticket is on your Smartcard, and your photo is printed on the card, you'll no longer need to carry a separate photocard.

You can't put a Smart Season Ticket on a non-photo Smartcard.

1. Buy tickets
Buy Smart tickets online or at our ticket vending machines.

2. Load tickets onto your Smartcard

  • Bought at a ticket vending machine: tap your Smartcard on the reader to load your tickets instantly
  • Bought online or via our app: tap your Smartcard on the reader at a ticket vending machine, ticket gate or platform validator. You can also load Smart tickets and products via the Android version of our app

3. Tap to travel​
Just tap your Smartcard at the ticket gate or platform validator. Wait for the beep, then you’re done. At the end of your journey, do the same again.

You can use your ScotRail Smartcard on ScotRail trains, the SPT Subway and participating GrassHOPPER bus services. You can also use ScotRail Smart Season Tickets on Virgin Trains East Coast services.

You can buy Season Tickets, Anytime and Off-Peak singles and returns for a Smartcard on all ScotRail routes.

You can buy Smart Super Off-Peak Day Return tickets on Smartcard on certain other routes.

Our Flexipass ticket is brand new to Smart. Get ten single journeys for the price of nine over a one-month period on over 1,350 journey options across 28 routes in Scotland.

Look out for Smart tickets and the Smartcard delivery option when you buy online. We’re adding more Smartcard options all the time, so keep checking back for updates.

Note: ScotRail Smartcards are currently only accepted on ScotRail trains, the SPT Subway and participating GrassHOPPER bus services. You can also use ScotRail Smart Season Tickets on Virgin Trains East Coast services.

ScotRail tickets and products

You can buy:

  • Smart Season Tickets, Anytime and Off-Peak singles and returns on all ScotRail routes
  • Smart Super Off-Peak Day Return tickets on certain routes
  • Smart Flexipass 10 tickets on over 1,350 journey options across 28 routes in Scotland
  • Club 50 membership, Highland Railcard and Under 25 Advance

ScotRail Smartcards are currently accepted on ScotRail trains, the SPT Subway and participating GrassHOPPER bus services. You can also use ScotRail Smart Season Tickets on Virgin Trains East Coast services.

You can buy SPT Subway tickets and SPT Pay As You Go credit to put onto your Smartcard.

Buy at SPT Subway ticket machines and Subway station ticket offices.

You can now load GrassHOPPER products onto your ScotRail Smartcard.

Buy from the driver on board participating bus services.

Buy ScotRail Smart tickets

  • From our ticket vending machines: just hold your card over the reader and follow the instructions. The ticket will be added to your Smartcard straight away
  • Online from our website or app: allow four hours from buying your ticket before loading it onto your Smartcard
    • Desktop: all ScotRail Smart tickets
    • Mobile/ScotRail app: Anytime and Off-Peak single and return tickets

Buy Season Tickets Buy Flexipass Buy singles and returns

Enter your journey details and choose the Smartcard delivery option at checkout (where available). You’ll be asked to enter your Smartcard number.

Before you travel, tap your Smartcard on the reader on a ScotRail ticket machine, ticket gate or platform validator to load the ticket onto your card. If you have an NFC-enabled Android phone, you can also load tickets onto your Smartcard via the ScotRail app

If you buy multiple tickets, they'll be loaded onto your Smartcard in the order you bought them.

You can put ScotRail Smart tickets on ScotRail Smartcards, SPT Subway Smartcards, and GrassHOPPER cards. You can only put Season Tickets on personalised Smartcards with your name and photo printed on the card.

You can buy SPT Subway tickets and SPT Pay As You Go credit for your ScotRail Smartcard at SPT Subway ticket machines and Subway station ticket offices.

At ticket machines, just put your card in the reader and follow the instructions. The ticket will be added to your Smartcard straight away.

You can buy GrassHOPPER bus tickets for your ScotRail Smartcard from the driver on board participating bus services.

You can currently buy Anytime and Off-Peak singles and returns for Smartcard on the ScotRail app.

Click ‘Plan & Buy’ and enter your journey details. You’ll see the Smartcard delivery option if you’re buying tickets at least four hours before you travel.

You can buy all ScotRail Smart tickets (Advance*, Anytime, Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak, Flexipass and Season Tickets) from your mobile via our desktop ticket booking sites here:

Allow four hours from buying your ticket before loading it onto your Smartcard.

*Advance single tickets are available on Smartcard only when you buy with the Under 25 Advance Railcard

You can now load ScotRail Smart tickets onto ScotRail and SPT Subway Smartcards using an NFC-enabled Android phone and the latest version of the ScotRail app.

You can also load Club 50 memberships, Highland and Under 25 Advance Railcards.

There are three simple steps:

  1. Open the ScotRail app and tap the ‘+’ button – select ‘Smartcard’ from the pop-up menu
  2. Hold your Smartcard against the NFC zone on your phone – if NFC is off, you’ll be prompted to switch it on
  3. Tap the ‘Check for new tickets/products’ button – you’ll need an internet connection when you do this

Any new Smartcard purchases will appear on screen and are now ready to use.

If NFC is switched on, you can also launch the ScotRail app by holding your Smartcard against the NFC zone on your phone.

NFC (Near-Field Communication) lets two electronic devices communicate when they are close to each other – in this instance your phone and your Smartcard. Most new Android smartphones have the technology built in.

If NFC is switched off, the ScotRail app will prompt you to switch it on when you use the Smartcard functionality. You can also switch NFC on and off in your phone’s settings.

You can collect all ScotRail Smart tickets, plus new and renewed Club 50 membership, Highland and Under 25 Advance Railcards.

NFC-enabled Android phones only.

You can currently load Smart tickets onto ScotRail and SPT Subway Smartcards using the ScotRail app.

We plan to extend the functionality to other card types in the future.

NFC-enabled Android phones only.

Here are a few things to check:

  • Have you got an NFC-enabled Android phone?
    Most new Android smartphones have NFC technology built in. The Smartcard functionality doesn’t work on Android phones without NFC, or on iPhones/iPads
  • Do you have the latest version of the ScotRail app?
    Open your App Store and check for updates
  • Is NFC switched on?
    You should be prompted to switch on NFC when you hold your Smartcard against the phone – or check in the phone settings
  • Are you holding your Smartcard to the NFC zone on your phone?
    The NFC zone is the part of your phone where the NFC chip is located. It’s usually the back cover of your phone, but it could also be the screen. Try holding your Smartcard flat against the back of your phone first
  • Is your phone in a case?
    Remove the case and try again
  • It's still not working, what else can you do?
    NFC technology is relatively new and quality can vary depending upon the manufacturer and even the device type

The ScotRail app is designed to open when you hold a Smartcard against the NFC zone. To stop this from happening inadvertently:

  • Store Smartcards away from your phone
  • Switch off NFC when you’re not using it

Contact our Smartcard team on 0344 811 0141.

You can put ScotRail Smart tickets on the following Smartcards when you buy tickets online from www.scotrail.co.uk

  • SPT Subway Personalised Smartcard featuring your name and photo: all ScotRail Smart tickets
  • GrassHOPPER card: Flexipass 10, Anytime and Off-Peak singles and returns, Super Off-Peak Day Return. GrassHOPPER cards are not personalised so you cannot use for ScotRail Season Tickets

At the moment you can’t put ScotRail tickets on any other types of Smartcard, such as NEC, but more cards will be added in the future.