Customer Support & FAQs

Employers: 202-962-1326 or email
Employees: 1-888-SMARTRIP or email
7 AM - 8 PM ET Monday - Friday

SmartBenefits® Frequently Asked Questions


Why weren’t SmartBenefits delivered to my SmarTrip card?

Please try one of the solutions below. If that doesn't help, then contact SmarTrip customer service at 1-888-SMARTRIP.

  • Scenario: If your balance appears to be less than expected this month, then you may have received a Rush Hour Promise Credit or 15 Minute Grace Period Credit in addition to your normal SmartBenefits. Your remaining credit balance is displayed on faregates and fareboxes first. Solution: Once your credits are used, then your normal remaining SmartBenefits balance is displayed. You can also view your SmartBenefits balances online at any time. See 'How can I view my remaining transit or parking SmartBenefits balances?''.
  • Scenario: You reported your card as lost or damaged via your SmarTrip Online account or a call to our SmarTrip Customer Service Center, but you did not provide your new card number to your employer. Solution: Provide your new registered card number to your employer's SmartBenefits Administrator and ask him/her to perform a 'reassign'. If you purchased your new card from a fare vendor, you must add it to your SmarTrip Online account to 'register' it. If you ordered your new card online, then Metro automatically added it to your account to register it. If you use the Passenger Allocation System , then read the "How do I replace a lost or damaged SmarTrip card that has SmartBenefits?" before you request a reassign.
  • Scenario: You are a first time or infrequent SmartBenefits user, and you tapped your card after the 15th of the benefit month. Solution: Contact our SmarTrip Customer Service Center and request a 'SmartBenefits refresh'.
  • Scenario: You cannot access your rollover SmartBenefits because your employer suspended all or a portion of them or removed you from their SmartBenefits account. Solution: Contact our SmarTrip Customer Service Center and request a "SmartBenefits refresh" to restore your rollover balance. It may take a day for the transaction to process, especially if you only ride on buses. In the meantime, you will need to add funds to your personal stored value purse to travel.
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Why didn't my vanpool or transit provider receive the funds that I allocated?

Please try one of the solutions below. If that doesn't help, then contact SmarTrip customer service at 1-888-SMARTRIP.

  • Scenario: You may not have saved your allocation to the proper transit provider. Solution: Please log in to your Passenger Allocation Account to confirm your allocation. Make any necessary adjustments by the 21st of the month (the 16th for CommuterDirect).
  • Scenario: Your employer reassigned the benefits to a replacement card, but you did not create a new Passenger Allocation Account using the new card number by the transit provider's monthly cutoff date. Solution: Use the Passenger Allocation System Create new account feature to properly allocate the SmartBenefits associated with your replacement card. If you also have a CommuterDirect account to purchase MARC, MTA Commuter Bus, or VRE passes, then also update that account with your new card number. NOTE: Timing is important. A 'reassign' performed after the 15th of the month may disrupt the upcoming month's allocation. You may want to delay the reassign until the first two weeks of the upcoming month.
  • Scenario: Your former employer removed you from their SmartBenefits account or your new employer has not added you to their account. Solution: Please see your employer’s SmartBenefits Administrator.
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How can I view my remaining transit or parking SmartBenefits balance?

View your balances as follows:

  • SmartBenefits Transit Purse: Displayed on a bus farebox or Metrorail faregate when your benefits are used to pay the fare*
  • SmartBenefits Parking Purse: Displayed at the Metro parking gate when your benefits are used to pay your fee.*
  • Personal Stored Value Purse: Displayed by tapping your SmarTrip® card to any Fare Vending or Add Value machine or when your fare/fee is paid from this purse at any farebox; faregate; or parking gate
  • All Purses, your SmartBenefits Transit Pass Benefit and up to 24 months of transaction history by logging in to your SmarTrip® Online account and clicking on the card you use for SmartBenefits.
  • SmartBenefits Funds Allocated to Other Transit Providers: Log in to your Passenger Allocation System Account and click on Payment History.
  • * SmartBenefits® participants receive credits due under Metro's 15 Minute Grace Period policy and Rush Hour Promise policy on the first of each month. The farebox, faregate and parking displays will not show your parking purse balance until the entire credit has been used. To view your transit and parking purse balances at any time, log in in to your SmarTrip® account.

If you have little or no benefits left and a portion or all of your transit fare or parking fee comes from your personal stored value purse, then only your personal stored value purse balance is displayed.

Make sure your personal stored value purse is ready to pay the fare or parking fee if your benefits run out. Consider using SmarTrip® Auto Reload so you're never caught short.

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How do I replace a lost or damaged SmarTrip® card that has SmartBenefits?

  • The process is easier if you have already purchased a replacement SmarTrip® card. However, if your card was lost, notify Metro immediately as described below to prevent someone else from using your card.
  • Log in to your SmarTrip® account; click your card number; under Manage Your Card click Report Lost or Damaged Card; and follow the instructions to deactivate your old card and register your replacement card.
  • No earlier than the day after you register it, provide your employer’s SmartBenefits Administrator with your replacement card number (see ‘Where is my SmarTrip Card number?’). Your employer must ‘reassign’ your benefits to the replacement card. SmarTrip® Customer Service cannot transfer your SmartBenefits®. If you use the Passenger Allocation System, then a ‘reassign’ performed after the 15th of the month may disrupt the upcoming month’s allocation. You may want to delay the reassign until the first two weeks of the upcoming month. Once the reassign is complete, you must create a new Passenger Allocation System account with the new card number and set-up your allocation again. In addition, if you use CommuterDirect, you must add your new card number to your existing CommuterDirect account.
  • If you purchased a pass with your benefits, then your employer will only return a pro-rata portion of the remaining pass value to your transit pass benefit allocation.
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What do I need to do if my employer changes my monthly benefit amount or type?

Nothing if you regularly ride Metrorail, Metrobus or any of the regional bus systems. Just tap your SmarTrip® card at least two days before the end of the benefit month.

If you use registered transit providers that do not have SmarTrip® card readers, then log in to your Passenger Allocation System account and update your allocation amount before the deadline of the 21st (the 16th for CommuterDirect).

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How do I use SmartBenefits® with transit providers that accept SmarTrip® cards?

At the beginning of each month, just tap your registered SmarTrip® card to a bus farebox, rail faregate or Metro parking target to pay your fare/fee as you normally would and your monthly SmartBenefits® will be activated. SmarTrip® cards are accepted at:

  • Metrorail
  • Metrobus
  • ART
  • CUE
  • DASH
  • DC Circulator
  • Fairfax Connector
  • Loudoun County Transit
  • PRTC OmniRide
  • Ride On
  • TheBus
  • Metro Parking
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How do I use my SmartBenefits® with transit providers that do not accept SmarTrip cards?

Riders who use any eligible transit provider that does not have a SmarTrip® card reader must set up a passenger allocation account. Once you complete the allocation process, the amount you allocated will automatically be sent to your transit provider each month. If you allocate all of your monthly benefits using the Passenger Allocation System, then there is no need to tap your card to a SmarTrip® target to receive your benefits.

Riders on MTA Commuter Buses. Follow the instructions above AND you MUST order your pass before the 25th day of each month at the following link http://www.mta.maryland.gov/

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Where is my SmarTrip® card number?

It is located on the back of the card in the bottom right corner. There are multiple types of SmarTrip® card numbers in circulation. Compare your number pattern to the ones in the examples. The numbers inside the brackets without spaces represent your card number. Cards for sale over the past few years all have numbers that start with 0167 (Example 4).

  • Example 1: [012345678]
  • Example 2: [012345678] 3
  • Example 3: 0020 00 [01 2345 678] 1 or [0020 0002 2345 678 1]
  • Example 4: [0167 0693 4564 7994 9601]
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Do Senior or Reduced Fare SmarTrip® cards work with SmartBenefits®?

Yes. These cards automatically deduct the reduced fare. Just provide your employer with your card number.

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Why are transit and parking benefits separated on my card?

To satisfy IRS requirements, transit, parking and stored value are segregated in electronic 'purses' on your SmarTrip® card. (See Revenue Ruling 2006-57, 2006-2 C.B. 911 and Internal Revenue Code § 132(a)(5) and 132(f).)

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What happens if I don't use all of my monthly transit or parking benefits?

Employers designate the treatment of unused monthly benefits as either "Rollover" or "Non-Rollover". Rollover allows unused benefits to accumulate in the associated SmarTrip® account of the employee up to $4,045 for transit and $4,045 for parking. Unused Non-Rollover benefits are credited back to your employer.

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How much can I accumulate in the separate electronic purses on my card?

If your employer allows Rollover of unused benefits, a maximum of $4,045 for the transit benefit purse and $4,045 for the parking purse is permitted. The Rollover option is generally limited by employers to pre-tax payroll employee participants.

The personal stored value purse on a SmarTrip® card holds $300.

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Can I use transit benefits to pay for parking or parking benefits to pay for transit? Can I add funds to the parking or transit benefits purse or transfer funds between them?

No. If you need additional funds to pay for parking or transit before the end of the current benefit month, then add value to your personal stored value purse online using your SmarTrip® account; at a bus farebox; at the Fare Vending and Add Value machines at any Metrorail station fare vending machine; or at select CVS and Giant stores.

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I work for two different employers, can I use the same SmarTrip® card for both and still receive SmartBenefits®?

No. You will need a separate SmarTrip® card for each employer that provides you with SmartBenefits®.

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I am retiring or changing employers. Can I obtain a refund of the remaining benefits on my card?

No. To comply with the IRS code, Metro does not issue SmartBenefits® refunds to employees. Unused Non-Rollover benefits will be credited back to your employer. You may continue to use your Rollover benefits until they are exhausted.

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