Railcard users will soon be able to use a digital version of their card on their smartphone, instead of carrying a hard copy.
The first railcards to go digital will be the 16-25 Railcard (formerly the student railcard) and the Network Railcard, which is open to anyone over the age of 16 but only offers discounts for journeys in London and the South East.
A launch date has yet to be confirmed but it is expected to be in the coming weeks.
It is hoped that all railcards including the Friends & Family Railcard, the Senior Railcard, the Two Together, and the Disabled Railcards will all be available digitally by the end of the year.
The cards, which cost £30 a year (£20 for the Disabled Railcard) offer a third off rail fares.
But in addition to making it easier to save money on train travel, the app should make it more convenient as railcard holders will no longer have to remember to carry the physical card with them, solving the problem of forgotten cards.
Currently, those passengers that forget their cards and are asked to pay extra for their ticket can apply for a refund, however this can only be guaranteed on the first occasion in a year.
Commenting on the launch, Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group says: “Railcards have joined the digital age just like the new generation of young people using the iconic card which started it all, helping to connect the country. Railcards save customers cash so they can take more train trips and have more to spend where they go, supporting local communities - and we’re making them easier to buy.”
New customers purchasing cards will have the opportunity to select whether they buy a physical card or the digital version – both will cost the same. Those purchasing digital cards will be able to access them on their smartphone immediately, rather than waiting for it to arrive in the post.
Existing customers will not be able to access digital cards until their current card is up for renewal.