SmarTrip® Q&A

About SmarTrip®

What is a SmarTrip?

A SmarTrip is a reloadable product used to pay Metrorail, Metrobus, and Regional Transit Partner fares, as well as parking at Metro facilities. SmarTrip is available on mobile devices and as a plastic card.

Learn more about SmarTrip Mobile

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What are the benefits of using SmarTrip?

  • It can be used seamlessly across Metrorail, Metrobus, and Regional Transit Partner buses – see complete list below
  • SmarTrip allows access to convenient account management, secure purchases, balance protection, Auto Reload, and Mobile Pay, and even has a dedicated mobile app.
  • It’s safer and faster than paying with cash on the bus.
  • It allows your employer to provide transit benefits through WMATA’s SmartBenefits® program.
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Where is SmarTrip accepted?

It is accepted at all Metrorail stations in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, all Metro parking garages and lots, all Metrobus routes. It is also accepted at local bus systems in DC, Maryland, and Virginia — including ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, Cue, RideON, TheBus, Circulator, Loudoun County Transit, and OmniRide.

PLEASE NOTE: SmarTrip used on mobile devices are not accepted on Baltimore MTA.

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What is Balance Protection?

  • If a registered SmarTrip Card is lost or stolen, the remaining balance can be replaced.
  • There is a $2 replacement fee if a replacement card is requested.
  • Learn More
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How long will my SmarTrip last?

A SmarTrip purchased from a Fare Vending Machine or on a mobile device will expire 12 years after purchase. The expiration date can be found in the SmarTrip app or on the SmarTrip Online Account. SmarTrip passes will expire if they are not loaded to your SmarTrip within 30 days of purchase. Learn More

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Where can I go for additional support related to my SmarTrip?

Contact SmarTrip Customer Service via email at or at 1-888-762-7874.  

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How to use SmarTrip

How do I use SmarTrip?

  • Metrorail: Tap your SmarTrip on the reader with the SmartTrip logo at the rail station fare gate when entering and exiting.
  • Metrobus & Regional Transit Partner buses: Tap your SmarTrip on the reader of the bus farebox when entering.
  • SmarTrip in Apple Wallet can be used with iPhone or Apple Watch – Learn More
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Do I need to tap my SmarTrip every time I change Metro lines?

  • As long as you are within the Metrorail system you only need to tap upon entering and exiting.
  • If you transfer outside of the Metrorail system, to Metrobus or another transit agency, you will be required to tap your card. A fee may apply. Learn More
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How much will my trip cost?

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How should I care for my plastic SmarTrip?

Your plastic SmarTrip is durable. Treat your card like any other money card. Protect it. Do not bend, puncture, or wash it.

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Does my child need to have their own SmarTrip?

Everyone ages 5 and over needs to have their own SmarTrip to use Metro. Back To Top

Register SmarTrip and Manage Account

How do I register a SmarTrip?

  • A SmarTrip purchased online or through the SmarTrip app is automatically registered.
  • If the SmarTrip app was used to transfer a registered SmarTrip to Apple Wallet or Google Pay the card is automatically registered.
  • A SmarTrip purchased at a Fare Vending Machine, commuter store, or retail outlet can be registered online or through the SmarTrip app.
  • A SmarTrip purchased in or transferred directly to Apple Wallet can be registered through the SmarTrip app. Learn More
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What are the benefits of registering a SmarTrip?

  • Auto Reload
    Automatically load passes or Stored Value to your SmarTrip — you’ll never worry about re-loading your card again.
  • Balance Protection
    Replace your lost or stolen SmarTrip with its remaining balance. A $2 replacement fee may apply.
  • Mobile Fare Payment
    Conveniently pay for fare with your mobile device.
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How do I create a SmarTrip account?

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Can I have multiple cards on my SmarTrip account?

  • Yes, there is no limit to the number of cards you can associate with your account.
  • To add an unregistered card online, login to your account, go to Manage Your SmarTrip Account, and Click Add a SmarTrip Card.
  • An unregistered card can also be added through the SmarTrip app. Learn More
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How do I reset the password to my account?

If you remember your current password:

If you do not remember your current password:

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Manage Fare on SmarTrip

How much money is on my SmarTrip?

To check your card balance, you can:

  • Login to your account.
  • Tap your plastic SmarTrip to a Fare Vending Machine at any Metrorail station.
  • Look at the fare gate while using your SmarTrip at any Metrorail station.

For SmarTrip Mobile:

  • Open the SmarTrip app or Apple Wallet on a mobile device.
  • Open Wallet on Apple Watch.

Please note: If your SmarTrip has not been used in over a year the remaining balance will not appear on your account but can be checked at a Fare Vending Machine.

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What is Stored Value?

  • Instead of paying each time, the SmarTrip can store value for rides.
  • Unless a pass is purchased, the fare will be deducted from Stored Value each time a ride is taken.
  • Up to $300 Stored Value can be loaded onto each SmarTrip.
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What passes can be loaded on my SmarTrip?

  • Metrorail and Metrobus Unlimited Passes
  • Metrobus Pass

Learn more about Pass Options

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What is the difference between a pass and Stored Value?

A pass offers travel within the system at discounted rates. Stored Value is an amount of money stored on your card that can be used to pay for fare.

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What is Auto Reload?

Auto Reload allows you to set your SmarTrip to automatically load passes or Stored Value. Learn More

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I tried to load Stored Value or a pass on my SmarTrip – why was it not accepted?

The Stored Value (max. $300) amount or number of passes allowable (4) may have been exceeded.

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Is fare the same for all Regional Transit Partners?

No. Stored Value is valid on all SmarTrip Regional Transit Partners but fares and passes may vary. Check with your Regional Transit Partner.

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How do I load a pass or Stored Value purchased online onto my plastic SmarTrip Card?

  • SmarTrip Cards used within the last 21 days: The system delivers online purchases to the rail stations and buses that have been used in the last 21 days. Tap the card to a fare gate, Fare Vending Machine, or bus farebox to load the pass or Stored Value.
  • SmarTrip Cards not used in the last 21 days: Tap the SmarTrip Card to a fare gate, Fare Vending Machine, or bus farebox of choice to let the system know where to deliver the pass or Stored Value.
  • Please note: The pass or Stored Value will be available within 1 business day at Metrorail stations or 3 business days on Metrobus.
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I bought Stored Value or a pass online – why is it not showing at the faregate?

Passes or Stored Value purchased online are available within:

  • 1 business day at Metrorail stations
  • 3 business days on Metrobus

The purchase must be loaded within 30 days to activate the fare.

  • If this period has passed, the product delivery status will display as “expired” on your account.
  • For additional questions contact customer service at or 1-888-SmarTrip (762-7874).
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I forgot to load my online purchase within 30 days. What should I do?

Contact SmarTrip Customer Service at or 1-888-SmarTrip (762-7874) to request that the product be resent to your SmarTrip Card.

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Replacements, Balance Transfers, and Refunds

What should I do if my plastic SmarTrip Card is lost, stolen, or damaged?

If a registered plastic SmarTrip Card was lost, stolen, or damaged, report it as soon as possible. The remaining balance, from the time the card is reported as lost or stolen, may be transferred to a new SmarTrip® for the cost of a new card. Balance transfers are unavailable for unregistered SmarTrip Cards. Learn More

  • For registered cards, log in to your SmarTrip account and click Report Card as Lost/Stolen/Damaged.
  • For immediate card replacement and balance transfer, please visit the Metro Center Sales office.

If a mobile device with SmarTrip was lost or stolen, SmarTrip can be restored or temporarily suspended. Learn More

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Can I transfer my balance to another plastic SmarTrip Card?

Yes, when a registered card is lost, damaged, or stolen, the remaining balance can be transferred. However, once the balance transfer is complete you will no longer be able to use the old card.

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Can I transfer my balance of a plastic SmarTrip Card to a mobile device?

If you transfer a plastic SmarTrip to Apple Wallet, the balance will automatically transfer. However, once the balance transfer is complete you will no longer be able to use the plastic card.

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What is the time frame for a balance transfer to process?

It can take up to 48 hours for the transfer to complete. To complete the transfer, your new card must be used at a Metrorail station you have traveled through in the previous 21 days.

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I live outside of the DC area and no longer need my SmarTrip. Can I get the value off it?

If you live outside of a 100-mile radius of the Baltimore or DC area, you may be eligible to request a refund of the value on your SmarTrip Card. Please contact SmarTrip Customer Service at 1-888-762-7874 to discuss.

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What is the time frame for a refund request to be processed?

Processing time may vary depending on the type of refund requested. Once processing is complete the refund check can take 3-6 weeks to be delivered.

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Pending Products

How do I load a pending product to my SmarTrip Card?

A product is considered pending if it has not yet been loaded onto your plastic SmarTrip Card. To load it to your card, use your card within the Metrorail or Metrobus system or tap it to a fare vending machine.

Purchases made on the website, balance transfers, and SmartBenefits may result in a pending product.

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Can a refund be processed for a pass that is pending to my SmarTrip Card?

No, the pending product must expire before a refund can be submitted.

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If I process a balance transfer, will my pending products transfer as well?

Yes, the pending product will transfer to the new SmarTrip.

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Reduced Fare SmarTrip Cards

How can I get a Senior SmarTrip?

  • Riders 65 years or older are eligible to receive a Senior SmarTrip available in both plastic and mobile versions.
  • Visit the Reduced Fares page for information on eligibility and sales locations.
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What is a Reduced Fare SmarTrip Photo ID Card?

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SmarTrip Programs

What is SmartBenefits?

SmartBenefits is a fee-free way for employers to allow employees to commute tax-free in DC, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland. Learn More

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What student programs are available?

Student Programs are available for eligible K-12 students and college students. Learn More

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About SmarTrip®

How do I get a SmarTrip?

It's easy to get started with SmarTrip— here are the ways to get started today: 

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