Customer Support & FAQs

Employers: 202-962-1326 or email
Employees: 1-888-SMARTRIP or email
7 AM - 8 PM ET Monday - Friday

SmartBenefits® Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use SmartBenefits® with transit providers that accept SmarTrip® cards?

At the beginning of each month, just tap your registered SmarTrip® card to a bus farebox, rail faregate or Metro parking target to pay your fare/fee as you normally would and your monthly SmartBenefits® will be activated. SmarTrip® cards are accepted at:

  • Metrorail
  • Metrobus
  • ART
  • CUE
  • DASH
  • DC Circulator
  • Fairfax Connector
  • Loudoun County Transit
  • PRTC OmniRide
  • Ride On
  • TheBus
  • Metro Parking
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How do I use my SmartBenefits® with transit providers that do not accept SmarTrip cards?

Riders who use any eligible transit provider that does not have a SmarTrip® card reader must set up a passenger allocation account. Once you complete the allocation process, the amount you allocated will automatically be sent to your transit provider each month. If you allocate all of your monthly benefits using the Passenger Allocation System, then there is no need to tap your card to a SmarTrip® target to receive your benefits.

Riders on MTA Commuter Buses. Follow the instructions above AND you MUST order your pass before the 25th day of each month at the following link

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Why didn't my vanpool or transit provider receive the funds that I allocated?

  • You may not have saved your transit provider and allocation amount in the Passenger Allocation System or you saved your selection after the monthly cutoff date for your transit provider. Please log in to your Passenger Allocation Account to confirm that your allocation was saved before the cutoff date. If it was, then please contact your transit provider.
  • Your employer reassigned the benefits to a replacement card but you have not updated your benefit allocation setting in the Passenger Allocation System.
  • Your employer suspended your benefits. Please see your employer.
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How can I view my remaining transit or parking benefits balance?

You can view your balances as follows:

  • Transit purse on  a bus farebox display or on any Metrorail faregate display when your benefits are used to pay the fare*
  • Parking purse when your benefits are used to pay your fee at a Metro parking gate*
  • Personal stored value purse by tapping your SmarTrip® card to any Fare Vending or Add Value machine or when your fare/fee is paid from this purse at any farebox; faregate; or parking gate
  • All purse balances and up to 24 months of transaction history by logging in to your SmarTrip® account.

    SmarTrip® Account SmartBenefits® Legend
    ALP SB TRN FF Account Linked Product SmartBenefits® Transit Full Fare
    ALP SB TRN SR Account Linked Product SmartBenefits® Transit Senior/Reduced Fare
    ALP SB PRK FF Account Linked Product SmartBenefits® Parking Full Fare

* SmartBenefits® participants receive credits due under Metro's 15 Minute Grace Period policy on the first of each month. The farebox, faregate and parking displays will not show your parking purse balance until the entire credit has been used. To view your transit and parking purse balances at any time, log in in to your SmarTrip® account.

If you have little or no benefits left and a portion or all of your transit fare or parking fee comes from your personal stored value purse, then only your personal stored value purse balance is displayed.

Make sure your personal stored value purse is ready to pay the fare or parking fee if your benefits run out. Consider using SmarTrip® Auto Reload so you’re never caught short.

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What do I need to do if my employer changes my monthly benefit amount or type?

Nothing if you regularly ride Metrorail, Metrobus or any of the regional bus systems. Just tap your SmarTrip® card at least two days before the end of the benefit month.

If you use transit providers that do not have SmarTrip® card readers, then log in to your Passenger Allocation System account and update your allocation amount before the deadline of the 21st of each month.

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How do I replace a lost or damaged SmarTrip® card that has SmartBenefits®?

  • The process is easier if you have already purchased a replacement SmarTrip® card. However, if your card was lost, notify Metro immediately as described below to prevent someone else from using your card.
  • Log in to your SmarTrip® account; click your card number; under Manage Your Card click Report Lost or Damaged Card; and follow the instructions to deactivate your old card and register your replacement card.
  • No earlier than the day after you register it, provide your employer with your replacement card serial number. Your employer must transfer your benefits to the replacement card. SmarTrip® Customer Service cannot transfer your SmartBenefits®.
  • If you purchased a pass with your benefits, then your employer will only return a pro-rata portion of the remaining pass value to your transit pass benefit allocation.
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Where is my SmarTrip® card number?

It is located on the back of the card in the bottom right corner. There are multiple types of SmarTrip® card numbers in circulation. Compare your number pattern to the ones in the examples. The numbers inside the brackets without spaces represent your card number. Cards for sale over the past few years all have numbers that start with 0167 (Example 4).

  • Example 1: [012345678]
  • Example 2: [012345678] 3
  • Example 3: 0020 00 [01 2345 678] 1 or [0020 0002 2345 678 1]
  • Example 4: [0167 0693 4564 7994 9601]
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Do Senior or Reduced Fare SmarTrip® cards work with SmartBenefits®?

Yes. These cards automatically deduct the reduced fare. Just provide your employer with your card number.

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Why are transit and parking benefits separated on my card?

To satisfy IRS requirements, transit, parking and stored value are segregated in electronic 'purses' on your SmarTrip® card. (See Revenue Ruling 2006-57, 2006-2 C.B. 911 and Internal Revenue Code § 132(a)(5) and 132(f).)

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What happens if I don't use all of my monthly transit or parking benefits?

Employers designate the treatment of unused monthly benefits as either "Rollover" or "Non-Rollover". Rollover allows unused benefits to accumulate in the associated SmarTrip® account of the employee up to $4,045 for transit and $4,045 for parking. Unused Non-Rollover benefits are credited back to your employer.

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How much can I accumulate in the separate electronic purses on my card?

If your employer allows Rollover of unused benefits, a maximum of $4,045 for the transit benefit purse and $4,045 for the parking purse is permitted. The Rollover option is generally limited by employers to pretax payroll employee participants.

The personal stored value purse on a SmarTrip® card holds $300.

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Can I use transit benefits to pay for parking or parking benefits to pay for transit? Can I add funds to the parking or transit benefits purse or transfer funds between them?

No. If you need additional funds to pay for parking or transit before the end of the current benefit month, then add value to your personal stored value purse online using your SmarTrip® account; at a bus farebox; at the Fare Vending and Add Value machines at any Metrorail station fare vending machine; or at select CVS and Giant stores.

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I work for two different employers, can I use the same SmarTrip® card for both and still receive SmartBenefits®?

No. You will need a separate SmarTrip® card for each employer that provides you with SmartBenefits®.

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I am retiring or changing employers. Can I obtain a refund of the remaining benefits on my card?

No. To comply with the IRS code, Metro does not issue SmartBenefits® refunds to employees. Unused Non-Rollover benefits will be credited back to your employer. You may continue to use your Rollover benefits until they are exhausted.

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