What Is a SmarTrip Card?

The SmarTrip card is a plastic, reloadable farecard used with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as of 2015. Each card has a computer chip that tracks its value. Users are able to view and manage their card online with a SmarTrip account.

SmarTrip cards are available for purchase at Metrorail stations and Metrorail sales offices, along with select retail outlets and outlet stores. To purchase a SmarTrip card online, visit the WMATA.com homepage, and place the cursor over Fares. On the drop-down menu that appears, click SmarTrip. On the SmarTrip page, click Purchase A SmarTrip Card under the I Want To heading.

Metrorail tickets cost $1 less when purchased with a SmarTrip card instead of a paper farecard. With an online SmarTrip account, the user is able to add money to the card, set up automatic money reloads, view card activity, request a replacement card and manage one or more cards. For replacement cards, the balance on the old card transfers to the replacement.

Multiple designs are available for SmarTrip cards, but all of the designs work the same way. At Metrorail stations, station faregates have circular targets where the user taps the card to pay for a ticket.