How to Purchase a Washington, D.C. Metro SmarTrip Card

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A Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Red Line Metrorail train gets underway.
A Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Red Line Metrorail train gets underway. (Image: Chris Reed/iStock/Getty Images)

If you make frequent use of Washington, D.C.'s Metrorail or Metrobus system, the reusable SmarTrip card offers an unbeatable value. In exchange for ditching disposable paper tickets, you get discounts on fares and transfers.

Purchase Online

Purchase your Metro SmarTrip card online and have it mailed to you. You'll pay a small fee for the card itself; the rest of your purchase price is stored as value on the card. The card is usually shipped in the next day's first class mail.

Purchase In Person

You can also purchase SmarTrip cards at Metrorail stations and Metro sales offices. Pay a small fee for the card and determine how much value to put on the card.

Register Your Card

If you bought your card online, it will automatically be registered to the address you gave. If you purchase your card at the station, you can create an online WMATA account and register your card manually. Don't skip the registration; if your SmarTrip card is stolen, registration lets you recover the value on the card.

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