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The Key

Got a question about our smart card, The Key? Find the answers here…

Got a question? We can help...

What is The Key?

The Key is the name of our Smartcard ticket.

You can buy, transfer, and renew Southeastern season tickets on our Key card. It’s a faster, safer, and more durable way to use your season ticket – and it’s free.

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?

The following season tickets can be used on The Key –

Weekly season tickets
Monthly season tickets
Annual season tickets
Custom season tickets
Out-boundary travelcard season tickets (starting from outside London zones)

In-boundary travelcard season tickets – i.e. travelcard season tickets starting inside London zones, and standard tickets like advance / off-peak / anytime, aren’t available on the Key yet.

If you buy tickets using a company cheque or warrant, season ticket purchases have to be made at a ticket office. Unfortunately, the Key is not currently available at ticket offices, and only paper season tickets can be issued. 

Where can I use The Key?

Your Key season ticket will work anywhere on our network, including high speed services if that’s how you normally travel. Check our Key network map if you’re not sure. 

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

  • London Underground 
  • London Buses*
  • DLR 
  • London Trams

*Some London buses are having problems with their card readers, if this happens just tell the driver when you get on. 

How many tickets can I buy on The Key?

You can buy up to 5 different season tickets on The Key (each Season ticket has to be bought and loaded separately). 

What are the benefits of using The Key?

  • It’s faster to buy Season tickets online
  • If you buy your Season ticket online, you can load it on to your Key card when you next tap in at the ticket gate
  • You can also buy and load Season tickets from our ticket vending machines 
  • Smartcards are more durable than paper tickets 
  • They’re also safer – if you lose your Smartcard we’ll send you a replacement free of charge, and block the old one to stop anyone else using it. 

How do I get a Key Smartcard?

When registering online, tick the box requesting a Key Smartcard. It will arrive in the post in 3-5 days.

If you’re already registered with us, just log in here, select “Apply for The Key smart card” from the drop-down menu, and follow the instructions. 

If you have any problems contact our Customer Services team on 0345 322 7021.  

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

Buy your season ticket online, and your new ticket will be added to your key card the next time you tap in at the station.

You can also buy your season ticket at a ticket vending machine, and load it there.

If you’ve already bought a paper season ticket but want to transfer it to your Key card, you can request a paper ticket transfer online, as long as –

  • You register for a Key card within 2 hours of buying the ticket
  • You have at least one month’s validity remaining on the ticket
  • The ticket was purchased at a Southeastern station, Southeastern website or Ticket Vending Machine
  • The ticket is for a Key enabled route (wholly on the Southeastern network)

When you’re transferring your paper season ticket to the Key online, you’ll need to enter your Photocard number. This is just to make sure your paper ticket is still valid.

If your Photocard number doesn’t start with ‘01’ and you’re having problems processing the paper transfer, try adding a ‘01’ to the start of your Photocard number and submit again.

If you have any problems contact our Customer Services team on 0345 322 7021 who will be happy to help.

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 30 minutes you can claim Delay Repay compensation just the same as you would with a paper season ticket.

You can claim for Delay Repay online here

How do I get a refund for my Key ticket?

You can fill in our online Key Refund Form, or download a paper version to post back to us. 

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 on The Key, as it will have your name printed on the front. 

Is there a Key card for children?

Yes. There is a special Key card for children from the ages of 5 to 15. You’ll need a passport-style photograph for a child Key card. 

How is The Key inspected or checked?

Our employees on board trains, and at stations, can read what’s on your Key card using hand-held readers.

You can log in to your account or check your Key card at a Ticket Vending Machine to see what’s on it.

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 a problem is found, 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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