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Looking for info on Digital Railcards? Maybe you’re wondering “Just what on Earth are they?!” Don’t worry, we’ve got all the details you’ll need to take your discounted train travel into the 21st-century. First things first, if you’re interested in getting one, then you’ll need to have a smartphone device – once you’ve got that, you’re ready to follow the instructions on this page.

What is a Digital Railcard?

A Digital Railcard is simply an electronic version of a Physical Railcard – one that you keep on your smartphone. It works similarly to an eticket, in that you can keep it stored digitally in an app, ready to show when needed if there’s a ticket inspector or member of staff. Railcards, in general, can save you up to 1/3 on a wide range of train tickets, with several different types available based on your age, location and physical health (find out which types are available below).

Which Railcards can be purchased and used digitally?

All of the main national Railcards are available digitally, including:

How to buy a Digital Railcard

First things first, you’ll need to decide which Railcard is most suitable for you. All the main Railcards are available digitally (See above) and you can purchase them from the official Railcards website. Once you find the most suitable one for your needs, you should have the following things ready for your online application:

  • A valid UK driving licence or passport to verify your identity
  • A passport-style photograph saved to the device you’ll be applying on
  • A payment card (credit or debit)
  • The Railcard app

Follow the instructions and pay, and you’ll be sent a code – you can then put this code into the Railcard app when you open it up on your phone and voilà, you’ll have a Digital Railcard that you can start using instantly!

How to use a Digital Railcard to buy cheap train tickets

When buying your train tickets with us, follow these simple steps to claim your discount.

  1. Put in your origin and destination as normal
  2. Click on the drop-down menu on the tab that says '1 adult - no railcards'
  3. From here, click on 'Add railcard' followed by 'Select a railcard'
  4. Scroll down to your Railcard, select it then click on the 'Done' button and after that, the 'Get times & tickets' prompt

At this stage, you should see the discount applied, and you should be able to follow the booking flow to the checkout page.

What happens if I lose my Digital Railcard?

You can’t lose a Digital Railcard like you’d lose a physical one since it’s stored within an app on your smartphone. However, you can take steps to secure your Railcard should you lose or damage your phone. You can do this by adding it to a second device. To do this, simply login to your profile on the official Railcards website and select ‘add your Railcard to a second device’. This is a great idea if you opt for the Two Together Railcard, for example.

More ways to get cheap tickets

While you’re here, why not make the most of our money-saving tips for rail travel?

First up, purchase an Advance ticket. In many cases, the earlier you buy these tickets, the cheaper they’ll be. They typically go on sale 12 weeks ahead of the departure date, so if you know you’ll be heading to the big smoke on business or for a day out, simply look out for the ‘’Advance ticket’’ type when searching for train tickets with us. You can also sign up for our handy Ticket Alerts, to receive an email as soon as Advance tickets are available for your chosen route. The good news doesn’t stop there though, as you can even combine your Railcard with an Advance train ticket on certain routes for amazing savings!

Want to learn more? Visit our Advance train tickets page for a complete guide.

Travelling during Off-Peak periods is another good way to increase your chances of securing the cheapest train tickets. Try to book an Advance ticket for an Off-Peak time using our Journey Planner, then add your Railcard discount and you’ll be well on your way to cheap train tickets.

For more info, head over to our Off-Peak train tickets page.

Be sure to compare the differences in price between a Return (two-way) ticket and two Single tickets, as sometimes one method can be cheaper than the other.

Last, but not least, if you’re travelling in a group of three to nine people, you could make use of the 34% discount applied to Off-Peak services thanks to GroupSave, a type of discount that doesn’t require you to purchase a Railcard (but which does appear in the Railcard dropdown when making a booking). Please bear in mind that GroupSave is not applicable for all journeys by the different train companies and will automatically be applied if valid for your journey and selected in the Railcard dropdown. All tickets must be purchased in a single booking, and all passengers must travel together on the day of departure.

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