Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve included a lot of the information on other parts of this website, but here are answers to other questions you may have.   

Yes. Certain services, such as Scotland-wide concessionary travel, are only available to qualifying holders of the National Entitlement Card (NEC). Other services such as library or leisure memberships may offer a choice of using the NEC or not; it is up to the provider to decide what can be used to access the service.

NECs can only be issued to people who are resident in Scotland; cards are issued by local councils on receipt of a valid application for a service that uses the NEC.

The NEC Common Glossary defines some of the words and phrases associated with the NEC Scheme.

Your NEC is designed to give you and you alone access to services.  The photo helps those giving you services such as librarians or bus drivers check that your card isn't being used by someone else.

The microchip securely holds the minimum information needed to manage the services that use the card. This includes basic personal details (i.e. name and date of birth) and in some cases information needed by the services the cardholder has applied for (e.g. house number, postcode, gender, library card number and leisure card number). More detail can be found in the NEC Privacy Impact Assessment, which can be downloaded from

Only the data required for the provision of the relevant service is made available to each service. For example, if you access both library services and concessionary travel using the NEC, the bus cannot read any information about your library membership.

The cardholder's name and photo will be printed on the front of the card, along with a unique reference number for each card. There may also be symbols to indicate what travel concessions the cardholder is entitled to. Young Scot branded cards, optional branding for 11-25 year olds, also carry the cardholder's date of birth for proof of age purposes.

No. The central database used for producing and maintaining the physical cards, known as the Card Management System (CMS), does not receive details of what you have done using your NEC. The Scottish Government does not have access rights to the CMS. Access is restricted to those administering the card on your behalf. This would normally be authorised representatives of your local council, the NEC Programme Office at Dundee City Council (who act as administrators of the Scheme on a national basis) and the suppliers who are contracted to provide card management and production services. The only personal information held by the CMS is that detail necessary to print or re-print a card for an individual and deliver it. More detail can be found in the NEC Privacy Impact Assessment, which can be downloaded from

Each service provider chooses how they record the transactions carried out with the card. For example, Transport Scotland records details of journeys made using a NEC in order to reimburse transport operators; however, they do not need to hold your personal details to do this, only the fact that a valid NEC was used. Transport Scotland does not share the details of individual journeys made.
All Library systems are required to record the personal details of who has taken out their stock regardless of whether or not the borrower has used the NEC, and will be required to protect that information accordingly.Other service providers may not even record the fact that you have used a particular NEC, for example if showing the NEC Young Scot card for a retailer discount.

saltirecard is a brand that indicates a card could be used for commercial smart travel Scotland-wide in the future. As well as being available as a NEC, the saltirecard brand is also appearing on transport operators’ commercial smart cards as well as on student and staff cards issued by some college and universities. If at some time in the future you want to use your NEC for commercial, non-concessionary smart travel Scotland-wide as well, it needs to carry the saltirecard brand.

If you want to check that the details the NEC Scheme holds for you are correct, the easiest way is to make use of NEC Online. Your local council will also be able to help make changes to your address, etc.
If you wish to exercise any of your data protection rights, including the right to see a copy of all the relevant personal data held by the NEC scheme, you should make a subject access request to your local council who is the lead Data controller for your data.  Further details of Data Controllers can be found in this document.