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Transit Providers with SmarTrip Targets or Readers

MetroRail, Metrobus, DC Circulator, RideOn (Montgomery County), TheBus (PG County), Fairfax Connector, ART (Arlington Rapid Transit), DASH, CUE Bus System, PRTC-Omni, Loudon Commuter Bus, and REX

On the first day of the month, benefits will be applied directly to your SmarTrip® card the first time you tap your card to a MetroRail faregate (entry turnstile) or bus SmarTrip® card target.
When you tap your card on the target for the first time during the month, the transit benefit balance displayed on the screen at the Metro faregate or Bus farebox will be your full monthly benefit amount. As you ride during the month, you will be using your benefits as you commute on mass transit.

SmarTrip® card Information
SmarTrip® card on iPhone & Apple Watch 
SmarTrip® card Troubleshooting
SmarTrip® card Tips

SmarTrip® card Information 

Your SmarTrip® card has 2 electronic "purses," or accounts:

1. Transit Benefit
  • NIH assigns authorized mass transit benefit
  • Funds from this purse are used first when riding mass transit during the month
  • View balance online at
  • Unused benefits do not roll over to the next benefit period or month
  • Can NOT be used for parking or transferred to your personal stored value purse
  • Holds up to your approved commuting costs, not to exceed the maximum subsidy authorized by IRS tax code.

2. Personal Stored Value Purse 
  • Add Personal funds at Metro farecard & pass kiosks or online
  • View balance at Metro farecard kiosks, parking target, or online
  • Can be used to pay for parking at a Metro lot
  • Cannot be transferred to Transit Benefit Purse
  • Personal funds do not expire and remain on the card until used
  • Holds up to $300 of personal funds 

SmarTrip on iPhone & Apple Watch 

To use Apple products on the Metrorail and buses you must follow the below steps:

  • Step 1:  You must create a digital SmarTrip Card in Apple wallet. Click here to see instructions and videos on how to obtain a digital card for use of SmartBenefits on Apple iPhone and Watch. For assistance with this process contract SmartBenefits customer support at 1-888-SMARTRIP or;

SmarTrip® card Troubleshooting 

  1. Verify that your SmarTrip®  card is registered with WMATA and is linked to your NIH Transhare Account.
    • Visit your Transhare account information in CAPS. Navigate to the second page after login, which displays commuting modes and information. The SmarTrip®  card that NIH is distributing your monthly subsidy to is displayed at the bottom of the page.
    • If the SmarTrip®  card is incorrect, input the correct card number and submit and update through CAPS for your information to be corrected. For more information, see this page.
  2. SmarTrip® cards must have a history of use and a positive personal balance in order to load benefits promptly. You need not spend personal funds to establish a history of use.
    • You can tap your card on a "farecard and pass" machine along the walls of a Metro Station. As soon as you get your card, begin to use it daily when possible.  This assists in getting your benefits to your card quicker. 
    • Please note, it may take from 3-5 business days when first establishing in the NIH Transhare Program for your transit benefits to show on your card.
  3. If you do not see your SmartBenefits at the beginning of the month:
    1. Log into your account and make sure you were not credited for Rush Hour Promise from WMATA the following month. The Rush Hour Promise credit must be used first before the SmartBenefits load on there.
    2. The fare gate machine will show the Rush Hour Promise Credit first. You must use all of the credit first, in order for the SmartBenefits to reflect.  The machine only displays your credit loaded on the card first.
    3. Verify that the personal balance is not negative. If the balance is negative, add funds to make it a positive value. Note: The dollar amount displayed at the Farecard and Pass machine reflects only your PERSONAL funds on the card.
    4. Note the dollar amount displayed on the entry faregate (the faregate will display the benefit purse on your card).
    5. Was the amount displayed at the faregate/turnstile different from your personal balance (that was checked earlier at the farecard and pass machine)?
      • If yes, your benefits are working fine, you can exit the platform.
      • If no, your card is still pulling from the personal purse. If this is the case, contact the WMATA at (888)762-7874. Tap your card to exit the station platform.
      • If you do not exit, your card will be locked for further use.

SmarTrip® card Tips 

  1. The NIH Parking Office recommends Transhare members keep $10 of personal funds on their cards. Occasionally, members experience a delay in Metro getting the transit subsidy to their SmarTrip®  card. Personal funds used at the beginning of the month due to a delay will be reimbursed by Metro.
  2. Once you receive your SmarTrip® for the first time, or when first joining the NIH Transhare Program, be sure to use your card on the Metro system. A history of use will aid in your benefits reaching your new card in a timely manner. The easiest way to establish this history of use is to use the card on the system (i.e., through the fareboxes and faregates).
  3. To have full visibility of both your transit benefit and personal balances on your SmarTrip® card, it is highly recommended that you establish a SmarTrip® Online Account with WMATA to see your account funds.

SmartBenefits Transit Allocations  

Click here to see a brief video on the new Transit Allocation process.

  • To set up a new allocation (or view an existing allocation), follow the instructions below: 
      1. Login to your SmarTrip® account (click here if you forgot your user name or password);
      2. Click on the card number you use for SmartBenefits;
      3. Click "Manage SmartBenefits" (bottom right corner);
      4. Review the new Transit Allocation section on your SmartBenefits Dashboard (bottom right corner).
        • Your existing transit allocation will not change.

For assistance contract SmartBenefits customer support at 1-888-SMARTRIP or