Frequently Asked Questions?

Most frequently asked questions

  • How long do I have to wait for my Railcard to arrive?

    If you have ordered a plastic 16-25 Railcard online, please allow up to 5 working days for delivery. If you paid for ‘Special Delivery’ and placed your order before 15:45pm, your Railcard will be delivered within two days (Monday to Thursday) or three days (Friday to Sunday). If you are applying as a mature student please allow an additional 5 working days for your application to be reviewed and approved.

    If you have purchased a digital 16-25 Railcard, in most cases it will be available to use straight away. A download code will be sent to your registered email address, along with instructions on how to download your Railcard. Mature students will have to wait a little longer as these applications are checked manually. Please allow up to 5 working days for your Railcard application to be reviewed and approved.

    You cannot travel on discounted tickets until you have received your Railcard.

  • How do I buy a 16-25 Railcard?

    You can buy your 16-25 Railcard online or at a staffed station Ticket Office.

    To buy online, simply click ‘’Buy Now’’ on the website homepage and follow the instructions on the screen. You will need to provide a valid passport or UK driving licence or EEA National Identity Card number to prove your date of birth and a digital passport-style photo.

    If you are a mature student, a 16-25 Railcard application form that has been stamped by your place of study accompanied by your current university/college photo ID will need to be provided. You will also need to provide a digital passport-style photo.

    Once your online payment has been successful you will receive an email confirmation and acknowledgement of your application number (this confirmation cannot be used to buy discounted tickets).

    If you have purchased a plastic 16-25 Railcard, please allow up to 5 working days for delivery. You can choose to pay for ‘Special Delivery’, but you will have to place your order before 15:45pm to guarantee that your Railcard is delivered within two days (Monday to Thursday) or three days (Friday to Sunday).

    If you are unable to wait for your 16-25 Railcard to be delivered to you, you can also download and complete an online application form and go to any staffed station Ticket Office to apply in person. You will need to provide a valid passport or UK driving licence or EEA National Identity Card number to prove your date of birth and a digital passport-style photo.

    If you have purchased a digital 16-25 Railcard, a download code will be sent to your registered email address, along with instructions on how to download your Railcard. 

    You will not be able to travel on discounted tickets until you have your Railcard.

  • What is an acceptable image to use for my Railcard photograph?

    The image should be a good recognisable likeness of you.

    We prefer colour pictures but black and white images are acceptable. Your head and shoulders should be in close-up, with your face clearly visible and filling approximately 70% of the frame (in the same way it would for a passport or driving licence). The image must be in sharp focus.

    Please make sure that your face is not obscured by hats or hair.

    The file of your photo must be either a .jpg, .jpeg, or a .png and must not exceed 5MB with a resolution of at least 300dpiWe will reject photos if they are not appropriate and ask you for a more suitable image.

  • How do I make a complaint?

    In the first instance please contact Railcard Customer Services who will endeavour to resolve any issues that you have. 

    We're open from 07:00am to 22:00pm everyday of the year except for Christmas day.  You can:

    Email us:

    Call us on:       0345 3000 250

    Write to:           

    National Railcards

    PO box 8626


    DE11 1JA


    If you are not satisfied with the resolution we give, you are entitled to contact:


  • Can I buy a 16-25 Railcard for another person?

    Yes, you can buy a 16-25 Railcard for another person online as long as they are between 16 and 25 years old or are mature students attending a recognised college or University in the United Kingdom for 15 hours or more a week for at least 20 weeks a year. You will need to provide proof of their date of birth (passport, UK driving licence number or EEA national identity card), their passport-style photo and their completed mature student application form signed and stamped by their place of study to prove their eligibility.

    To order the Railcard, click ‘Buy Now’ on the website homepage and then when you get to the question, "Who is the Railcard being purchase for?" choose the option " The Railcard is for someone else" and follow the instructions on the screen to continue with your purchase. You will also be asked to register if you do not already have an account or log in using your registered email address and password.

  • Can I buy a Railcard at a rail station?

    Yes. You can buy a 1-year 16-25 Railcard over the counter at all staffed station ticket offices. You will be required to provide your passport or UK driving licence or birth certificate or EEA National Identity card as proof of your date of birth and a passport-style photo.

  • How can I change my personal details if I am an online Railcard customer

    Please go to "Manage my Railcard" on the website homepage to log in to your account. Once logged in, on the top right of your account summary page, please click on your ‘Menu Profile’ and select ‘Personal Details’. You will be given the option to update or change your personal details.

    Or you can also click on, enter your log in details and the ‘Manage Personal Details’ page will show. You can now change or update your personal details.

    If you need to change your name on your 16-25 Railcard, you will need to call our helpline on 0345 3000 250 to order a replacement. You will also have to pay a £10 administration fee and you will be required to email us a copy of either your Enrolled Deed Poll or Marriage Certificate.

    If you bought your 16-25 Railcard at a station you will need to take your 16-25 Railcard to a staffed station along with a copy of either your Enrolled Deed Poll or Marriage Certificate. You will also have to pay a £10 administration fee.

  • Can I use a provisional driving licence to prove my age online?

    Yes. Provisional driving licences can be used to demonstrate your age to our online system.

  • I am having trouble uploading my photo for my Railcard – what can I do?

    We're sorry that you've experienced problems whilst uploading a photograph. There can be several causes of this - some of which are difficult to diagnose. We’ve compiled a list of trouble-shooting tips that you can try before contacting us:


    • Retry the photo upload. Close your web browser before restarting it and logging in again


    • Enable Javascript on your web browser. Your web browser may be configured in a way that it makes uploading the photo more difficult (such as. having the Javascript disabled).  Please check your settings and ensure that Javascript is enabled


    • Make sure you have up-to-date web browser software. Although our website supports the top browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Opera), some older versions of these browsers are more likely to cause problems uploading image files to our website. Try updating your web browser to the latest version, or try a different web browser/computer


    • Make sure your image is 5 megabytes (5Mb) in size or less. We accept images up to 5Mb in size but the smaller the file the better - it will take less time to transfer to our servers. Crop your photograph before uploading and/or reduce the quality but be careful - the picture still needs to be clear enough to print on the Railcard


    • Check that your internet service provider (ISP) is not experiencing problems. These are often difficult to detect but if other websites are unusually slow (especially noticeable when downloading images), then your ISP may be having network issues or might be congested. You may want to check with your ISP by visiting their 'service status' webpage


    If you have done all of the above and are still experiencing problems, then please call us on 0345 3000 250.


  • The system won't accept my driving licence details - can you help?
    If you are using a driving licence to apply, please make sure that the name you use to apply for your Railcard is typed into your application in exactly the same format in which it is shown on your driving licence.

    This means that if an apostrophe or hyphen in your name has been left out of your name on your driving licence you need to leave it out of the name you use for your Railcard.

    For example, if your name is “O’brian” and it is shown as “Obrian” (without the apostrophe) on your driving licence, then you should type it as “Obrian” in your Railcard application.

  • I can’t find my year of birth in the drop down menu in the “Your Date of Birth” section of the application. What can I do?

    You may have ticked on ‘Yes, I am a mature student’ under ‘Are you a mature student?’ question at the begin of your application. This box should only be ticked by applicants who are 26 years of age or older and still in full time education. Please remove the tick from the mature student box and you will be offered the range of birth dates for applicants who are between 16 and 25 years old.

  • The system says my passport is “invalid”. What can I do?

    We accept machine readable passport numbers from all countries except for those issued in the Philippines and Bangladesh prior to 2010. So if you have a valid passport your passport code should work.

    When inputting your passport details into the system please ensure you are entering all characters including each chevron “<” where it appears on your passport. You will need to input:

    • A: 10 digits or characters into the first box
    • B: three letters in the second box identifying your nationality
    • C: seven digits in the third box
    • D: an F or M identifying your gender in the fourth box
    • E: seven digits in the fifth box
    • F: the last two digits of your passport code in the sixth box. If you only have one digit in this section, please add a 0 in front of it. 

    If all of the above information is correct and the system says that your number is still invalid, please check that the information you have supplied on the Cardholder Details page is correct. You must:

    • use your full name as it is shown on your passport. Do not use any shortened version of your name (for example, “Bob” when you are “Robert” on your passport)
    • put your personal name in the “Your First Name” field and your family name in the “Your Surname” field
    • make sure that your gender is as it is shown on your passport

  • I wear a burka or a niqab – will I have to show my face in the photograph?

    All customers must provide a photograph. The photo should have been taken with nothing covering the outline of eyes, nose or mouth. The rail industry applies the same rules as the DVLA and Passport Agency, so photos with a person wearing a full facial burka / niqab (a veil that covers the face) are not acceptable. If a member of rail staff is unable to validate that the person on your Railcard is you, the Train Companies reserve the right to charge you the full price Standard Single fare for your journey as if no ticket was purchased before starting the journey and in some cases a Penalty Fare.

  • I am getting the message "Internal Server Error" during the application process. What can I do?

    The “Internal Server Error” message is a generic error message which relates to issues to do with the way your browser is interfacing with the Railcard website. Sometimes this problem can occur if you are using compatibility mode in Internet Explorer (versions IE10 and lower).  

    In Internet Explorer 10 you can click the compatibility mode button to switch it on or off. 

    In Internet Explorer 11 there is no compatibility mode button so to access the Compatibility settings you will need to click on the Settings icon. In the menu that is subsequently displayed you will find “Compatibility View Settings” – click this. In the Settings panel that displays, make sure that is not the box entitled, “Websites you’ve added to compatibility view”.  If it is please click on the entry and click the remove button, then click to close it.

  • What methods of payment are accepted?
    A: We accept online payment via credit and debit cards. The cards accepted are: Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, MasterCard, MasterCard Debit, Maestro and Solo.

    We cannot accept American Express or Diner's Club.

  • I have a promotion code to use towards the cost of my Railcard – it is not working. What can I do?

    Please check that you have read each character of the code correctly. We do try to use codes that are easy to read, but occasionally applicants might confuse,

    • the letter “I” with the number “1”
    • the letter “O” with the number “0”(zero)
    • the letter “S” with the number “5”.

    If any of these characters appear in your code please try their alternatives. If this does not work please call us on 0345 3000 250 and we will be able to check the status of the code you have.

  • Why is the title "Mx" not available when I come to make payment?
    A: If you have given your title as "Mx" during the application process then this will be shown on your Railcard and in all correspondence that we have with you. However, the secure payment process is delivered by our Payment Provider and we are only able to offer the range of titles that it provides.

Can't find an answer? 

If the answer to your question is not in the above or you are having problems purchasing your Railcard, you can contact us

Train Companies

If you have any questions concerning rail ticke

t prices or journey planning National Rail Enquiries will be happy to help you.

If you have any comments about a specific rail journey please contact the train company that provides the service. To find their contact details see the list of Train Operating Companies