MSE News

Railcard tech error leaves some train passengers unable to access their cards – here's what you need to know

Some train passengers have been unable to access digital Railcards for the past 48 hours due to a technical error. Anyone who has paid full price for their train ticket or who has been fined for not being able to show their Railcard due to the IT failure should request a refund.

Update: 15 June 2023: The Rail Delivery Group, which is behind Railcards, has confirmed that technical issues preventing people from buying and displaying their digital cards should now be resolved. We've checked on social media and reports of issues have also since died down. 

It did, however, add that there may be a small number of people who still need support. It said it is working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. 

If you are still experiencing problems or need to claim a refund, you can get in touch with Railcard's customer services via the process outlined below. (MSE) has spotted dozens of complaints on social media over the past 48 hours from train users who have been unable to access their digital Railcards.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which manages the Railcard service, says the issue started around 1.30pm on 13 June and is still ongoing. The RDG wouldn't tell us how many people are impacted, but it did tell MSE that the problems currently impact those who have:

  • Bought a new Railcard during the outage or who have tried to buy a new Railcard during the outage. 
  • Renewed a Railcard during the outage.
  • Requested to load their digital Railcard to a new device during the outage.

Those who downloaded their digital Railcard to the app prior to the outage should be able to use it as normal. 

Below we explain what you need to know if you're travelling or if you've been overcharged as a result of the error. You can also see our Cheap Train Tickets guide for full help on cutting the cost of rail travel. 

'My Railcard still isn't working - very frustrating experience'

Here are some of the complaints we've spotted on social media:

If you need to travel imminently, buy a full price ticket and claim a refund 

If you've yet to buy tickets to travel but need to imminently, the RDG advises that you should buy a full price ticket and contact Railcard to organise a refund of the difference - see below for more on this. 

If you've already purchased a ticket at a Railcard discounted price, you'll need to explain the situation to train staff if asked to show your Railcard. If you're asked to pay the difference or receive a fine, you should contact Railcard for assistance – again, see below for more on this. 

How to claim a refund if you've had to pay full price or if you've been fined

Railcard has confirmed that if you've been left out of pocket due to the tech error, you can get in touch with it to ask for your money back. You can contact Railcard and request a refund or assistance via its online web form.

Reasons you may be able to request a refund include:

  • You have a Railcard but couldn't show it and had to pay full price for your ticket. You'll be refunded the difference between what you had to pay and what you would have paid with your Railcard discount. 
  • You bought a Railcard directly from the Railcard website and haven't received your code to download it to the app. Here, you can get a full refund of the price of the Railcard and instead buy a physical Railcard at staffed ticket offices or from other online retailers, such as Trainline or TrainPal.
  • You bought your train ticket at the discounted Railcard price but received a fine because you couldn't show your Railcard when asked. Railcard will provide supporting evidence to show you have a Railcard, which you can use to challenge the fine. 

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!