The Key contactless smartcard

Our Key smartcard is an alternative to paper tickets, that makes it quicker and easier to travel.

If you have the Southeastern app you can quickly load your tickets on to your Key card at home, allowing you to reduce the time you spend at the station.

You can use your Key card to buy single, return and season tickets.

Some tickets are not currently available on The Key including Advance Tickets, Rovers, Weekenders, Anytime Open Returns and Off-Peak Returns.

Register for your Key smartcard below so you’re ready to commute, your way.

If you’re planning to travel to the office a couple of times a week, our Flexi Season ticket could be the perfect option for your commute. Exclusively available on The Key, the Flexi Season ticket offers 8 days of travel in 28 days – any time between two stations. Flexi Season tickets are on sale now.

You are also able to buy Key tickets for most other train companies across mainland Britain and TfL, so you can get straight to your destination with just one purchase.

4 steps to using The Key

Loading, viewing and activating tickets on The Key

Please ensure you have the latest version of the Southeastern app downloaded from your app store. We're frequently updating it with new features and bug fixes.

If you’re having trouble loading and viewing your Key smartcard ticket using the Southeastern app, or activating your Flexi Season ticket, please check the following:

  • Double check that you have purchased a ticket for your smartcard and not a different collection method.
  • It can take up to 5 minutes for a recently purchased ticket to become available to load. In some cases, it may take up to 15 minutes.
  • Make sure your device supports NFC – we use NFC to load and view your Key smartcard.
  • If you’re using an Android device, check NFC is switched on. If you’re using an iOS device, check if Apple Pay is working and that your device is running iOS 13 or later.
  • Hold your Key card against the upper back of your phone for 20 seconds – you may need to slowly move the card to find the NFC reader, once it does, don't move until the action is completed.
  • Try closing the Southeastern app and opening it again.
  • If the above does not work, please contact our Customer Services team.

If you do not want to use our app, once you've setup, simply login to your online account and buy tickets on our website. Go to your go to your nominated station and touch in at the yellow card reader on the gate or validator to load your ticket onto The Key.

If there is no gate or validator at your starting station, you can load your ticket at the ticket vending machine by touching the smartcard reader. When buying tickets in this way you will need to allow 2 hours between purchasing your ticket online and loading it onto The Key.

Remember to keep The Key card separate from other contactless cards to prevent ‘card clash’ when touching the reader.

Buy tickets for multiple Key smartcards

You can now buy tickets for multiple Key smartcards from one account, saving you time and making it easier to buy tickets for your friends and family. Whether you need to renew a Season ticket for a child or another family member, or want to take advantage of our GroupSave offer when travelling with a group of friends, buy tickets for other Key smartcards with ease. Other Railcard discounts are available too. Follow the instructions below to find out how.

Braille stickers for The Key

To help visually impaired passengers when travelling, Southeastern has distributed braille stickers to all of its ticket offices.

The stickers read “,,SE” and are designed for use on the Key smartcard to help visually impaired passengers to identify it among other cards they may have. They can be collected from a Southeastern Ticket Office, or requested via our Customer Services team.

The Key for kids

Children aged 5 – 15 can travel with their own specially created children's Key smartcard, complete with exclusively designed Key card wallet.

Key smartcards for kids are available to order online. Simply set up an account with us in your child's name, you'll also need an email address and passport-style photo when registering.