Metro: SmarTrip Cards Purchased Before 2012 Must Be Replaced

by MCS Staff

Metro is installing new faregates at rail stations and will begin upgrading fareboxes on Metrobuses in the fall. This investment in new technology means a faster, more efficient and reliable experience for you. As a result, beginning March 1, 2022, SmarTrip cards purchased before 2012 will no longer work and must be replaced.

If you’re using SmarTrip in your mobile wallet, you’re all set – just tap and go.

To accommodate customers SmarTrip card replacements, the Metro Center Sales Office hours of operation have been extended to  8am – 3pm Monday – Friday until further notice.  The sales office is located at Metro Center Station – Enter at 12th & F Streets, NW Washington, DC 20005.

Step 1: See if Your Plastic Card Needs to be Replaced.

Check the back of your card. If you don’t see a set of numbers that begins with 0167, you must replace your card.

Step 2: Take Action if Your Plastic Card Needs Replacing.

Have You Registered Your SmarTrip Card to Preserve Your Balance?

Please register your card to ensure your balance stays protected. If you prefer not to register your card, be sure to take a picture or make a copy of the back of your card to note the serial number before proceeding.

Register Your Card


If you are not currently riding Metro and don’t have SmartBenefits on your card:
Don’t need your card right away? Mail us your SmarTrip card to have the balance transferred to a new card.
We’ll mail the new card to you within 10 business days to use in the Metro system. Download the Form HerePDF Icon to get started.

If you are actively using the Metro system:
Transfer your balance to an eligible SmarTrip card or request a new card here.

If you currently have SmartBenefits on your SmarTrip card:
SmartBenefits participants cannot transfer balances using the mail-in or in-person process. Please use our online balance transfer process to replace your first generation SmarTrip card.

If you need further assistance, see below for our Frequently Asked Questions or call SmarTrip customer service: 1-888-SMARTRIP (1-888-762-7874).

Frequently Asked Questions

My card matches the types that need to be replaced, when do I need to replace it?
We recommend replacing your card as soon as possible to avoid any disruption in the future should you ride at a station that has the new faregates installed. Click here to see the upcoming stations where the faregates will be replaced, as well as a list of the stations with the new faregates and to learn more about the project.

Can I replace my card in-person somewhere?
Visit our Metro Sales Office located at the Metro Center Station to replace your card in-person if your card does not have SmartBenefits. The Metro Sales Office is open Tuesday through Thursday from 8am-12pm.

Can I replace my card online?
If you are a SmartBenefits participant, you can initiate the online card replacement process at any time.

If you are not a SmartBenefits participant, then your first-generation card must be tapped at a faregate, bus fare box, or fare vending machine to complete the balance transfer. For those who aren’t currently riding Metro and do not have SmartBenefits on their card, our mail-in option is the best replacement method as it doesn’t require you to visit a station or bus to complete the balance transfer.

If you do use the online replacement process, then you must use your new card within 30-days to complete the balance transfer. Please plan accordingly.

I have another SmarTrip card that is a newer generation, can I transfer my balance to that card?
Yes, click here to replace your older SmarTrip card and transfer your balance.

What happens if I don’t replace my first generation SmarTrip card?
Older SmarTrip cards that match the formats noted here will not be compatible with our new faregates, so you will be unable to enter or exit the system.

I have SmartBenefits on my first generation SmarTrip card, but I only use my card for vanpool, commuter rail, or commuter bus. Do I still need to replace my card?
If you allocate all your SmartBenefits to a vanpool or for use on commuter rail or commuter bus, then we recommend that you replace your first generation SmarTrip card to keep current with our new technology.  However, you will not be required to replace your card if you do not travel on Metro or with one of Metro’s regional partners.

Can I replace my first generation SmarTrip card at Commuter Stores or retail outlets?
Unfortunately, first generation SmarTrip cards can only be replaced in-person at our Metro Sales Office located at the Metro Center Station.

Can I transfer the balance on my first generation SmarTrip card to a mobile SmarTrip card?
If you are actively riding the system and have a SmarTrip card in your mobile wallet, you can transfer the balance of your first generation card to it. First, make sure your mobile SmarTrip card is added to your account at, then transfer your balance to the mobile SmarTrip here.

What if I have a commemorative card and I don’t want to mail it in?
If you are actively riding the system, you can transfer your balance online to another SmarTrip or request to have a new card mailed with your remaining balance. If you have not ridden Metrorail or Metrobus in the last 7 days: whenever you are ready, simply tap your SmarTrip card at any fare vending machine, fare gate, or bus farebox and follow the steps to transfer your balance online to another SmarTrip.


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