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What is The Key?

The Key is the name of our Smartcard.

You can buy single, return and season tickets on The Key. 

It’s a faster, safer, and more durable way to travel – and it’s free to get one. 

Just tap in and out at the ticket gates, same as you do for Oyster and Contactless. 

What tickets can I buy on The Key?

You can buy walk-up single, return and season tickets on your Key card.

Only Southeastern tickets can be loaded onto your Key card.

Season tickets can be bought either online, from one of our ticket offices, or from a ticket vending machine (if your journey starts from outside London). 

Single and return tickets can be bought from one of our ticket offices, or from a ticket vending machine (if your journey starts from outside London). 

Walk-up single and return tickets are defined as Anytime, Off Peak or Super Off Peak day or period singles and returns. 

Advance tickets are not available on The Key. 


Can I load railcard discounts onto The Key?

Tickets discounted with railcards for individual passengers can be loaded onto The Key online, or from most ticket offices and ticket vending machines.

Tickets discounted with railcards requiring multiple travellers (e.g Family, Two Together) and Group save are not available to be loaded onto The Key.

Where can I use The Key?

You can use your Key tickets anywhere on our network, including high speed services. 

Out-boundary Travelcard key season tickets will also work on the following gates –

  • London Underground 
  • London Buses
  • DLR 
  • London Trams 
Tickets for travel onto other operators' services will also start to become available on The Key in the coming months. 

How many tickets can I buy on The Key?

You can buy up to 5 different tickets on your Key card.

Each ticket has to be bought and loaded separately. 

What are the benefits of using The Key?

Key cards are safer and more durable than paper tickets. 

You can buy Key card tickets online, at one of our stations, and from our ticket vending machines. 

If you lose your Key card we’ll send you a replacement free of charge.  

How do I get a Key Smartcard?

You can order a Key card online, or ask for one at one of our ticket offices (Southeastern-managed ticket offices only). 

How do I buy or transfer tickets on to my Key card?

If you buy your tickets online, they will be added to your Key card the next time you tap in at the station.
You can tap in at a gateline or validator inside London; or a gateline or ticket vending machine outside London. 

If you buy your ticket at a ticket vending machine or ticket office, you can load it on to your Key card at the same time. 
If you have any problems loading your ticket onto The Key, please ask a member of ticket office staff for assistance. 

If you’ve already bought a paper ticket but want to transfer it to your Key card, you can request a paper ticket transfer whilst registering for your Key card.   

Please note you can only transfer Southeastern paper tickets on to your Key card. Paper tickets bought from other operators e.g. Trainline cannot be transferred.

Can I change the route of the ticket on my Key card?

Unfortunately, we’re currently not able to change the route of a ticket on the Key.

If you need to change your ticket’s route, please contact Customer Services for further information on 0345 322 7021. 

Can I claim Delay Repay if I have a Key card?

Yes, if your journey has been delayed by at least 15 minutes you can claim Delay Repay compensation, just the same as you would with a paper ticket. 

Simply select 'The Key' under the ticket type selection on the Delay Repay form. 

How do I get a refund for my Key ticket?

You can log in to your account to apply for a Key refund. 

I want to claim a refund on my Key but can’t use the self-service refund facility on my account, what should I do?

Please apply for your refund using our online Key refund form.  

Bought your ticket online on the Key smartcard?

It’s nice and easy as you can process your refund yourself. Just log into your accountclick on ‘Manage my tickets / refund’, and follow the steps. 

The refund will then be paid back to the method of payment you used to purchase your ticket with. 

Bought your ticket at a ticket vending machine on the Key smartcard?

Please apply for a refund using our online refund form

What do I do if my Key card is lost or stolen?

You can apply for a replacement by logging in to your account, choosing ‘The Key replacement’ in the drop-down menu, and filling in the form. 

Do I need a Photocard with the Key?

A paper photocard is not required when travelling with a Key card. 

Is there a Key card for children?

Yes, there is a special Key card for children from the ages of 5 to 15. This is only available to order online. You’ll need a passport-style photograph when registering for a child Key card. 

How is The Key inspected or checked?

Our staff on board our trains and at our stations have hand-held Key card readers, which confirm what tickets are on your card. 

If you want to check what tickets are on your Key card, you can either log in to your online account, check it at one of our ticket vending machines, or ask at the ticket office (Southeastern-managed ticket offices only). 

What happens if my Key card stops working?

If you have any problems at the ticket barriers when using your Key card, just ask one of our employees who can check your card.  

If there is a problem please contact our Customer Services team on 0345 322 7021. 

Can I get 2FOR1 offers with my Key card?

Yes, you can use your Key card to get 2FOR1 offers, just the same as you would with a paper ticket. 

What rewards are available once I've registered for The Key?

As a Key holder, you can receive our enhanced monthly rewards – Southeastern Rewards Plus. We’ll email you with monthly offers and treats.

You can get great rewards deals on theatre, music attractions and exhibitions here, and Southeastern Rewards Plus members get an extra 10% discount on top of the prices shown. The discount will automatically be added to your basket.

If you are already a holder of The Key, please make sure you've opted in to receiving our emails, simply sign in to your account, click on ‘Account details’ in the drop-down menu, and click the ‘Marketing and service-related notifications’ tab to subscribe. 

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