- Questions About Using Clipper®
- Questions About Using Clipper with Specific Transit Providers
- Questions About Types of Value and How to Add Value
- Questions about Autoload
- Questions About Employee Transit Benefit Programs
- Questions About Card Problems
- Questions About Discounts
- Questions About the RTC Clipper Card
- Questions About Clipper's New Automated Phone Service
Questions About Using Clipper
I need to transfer from one vehicle to another. How does that work?
You may never need to get a paper transfer ever again. When you use cash value, Clipper keeps track of prior rides and automatically calculates transfer discounts and fare credits where appropriate. On the first leg of your trip, tag your card by holding it to the Clipper logo on the card reader. When you transfer to another transit vehicle, just tag your card to the card reader on that vehicle, and Clipper will apply any transfer discounts. Clipper is accepted on many transit systems throughout the Bay Area. Click here for a current list of the transit systems that accept Clipper.
I need to transfer to a transit system that doesn't accept Clipper. How does that work?
If you plan to transfer to a transit system that does not yet accept Clipper, once you have paid your fare with your Clipper card, ask the station agent or transit vehicle operator for a paper transfer to use on the system that does not yet accept Clipper. If paper transfers are not available for that transit system, or a paper pass or ticket is considered your transfer, please continue to use paper passes or tickets until that transit system accepts Clipper.
When I pay a fare using Clipper, how do I know if the proper fare value has been deducted from my card?
When you use your Clipper card with either a transit pass or cash value, a single or double beep will indicate the correct fare has been deducted or that a valid pass or transfer has been found. Each time you pay your fare with cash, the card reader displays the fare deducted and shows how much you have left.
When you load cash value combined with a transit pass on your card, the card reader will always charge you the lowest fare possible. The Clipper system always checks first to see if your card has a valid pass or transfer before deducting cash.
When I touch my Clipper card, does it matter which way the card is facing?
No. The sensor in the card reader just needs to be about one inch from the card.
What happens if the card reader can't read my card for some reason?
There may be several reasons the card reader may not have recognized your card. Please try tagging your card again by holding it to the card reader longer until you hear it beep. If your card is stored in your wallet or with other RFID cards, please remove it and tag it separately to the card reader. If you do not hear any beeps or see any lights, your card may be defective or damaged. You can send your card in to our Customer Service Center along with this form for the card to be tested or you can visit one of our walk-up Customer Service Centers. Locations can be found here.
It's a good idea to keep a little extra cash on hand in the event your card does not work since some transit agencies may require you to pay your fare in cash.
Can I punch a hole in my Clipper card, so I can wear it around my neck or clip it to a belt or purse?
The Clipper card should not be altered in any way. Punching holes in the card, bending it or otherwise altering it could damage the small antenna used to send information between the card and the card reader. If the antenna is damaged, the card will not function properly.
Is there a cost to get a Clipper card?
A new Adult Clipper card will cost $3. Clipper will waive the $3 fee if you purchase your card online and sign up for Autoload at the same time. If you purchase a card at a Muni Metro or Golden Gate Ferry Clipper vending machine, you will need to load a minimum amount of value to your new card. At other locations and on clippercard.com, there is no required minimum for new cards.
Is it safe to purchase Clipper cards posted on Craigslist and similar sites?
Clipper cards purchased on Craigslist and similar sites may appear legitimate and even work initially, but can be blocked if the card you purchased is the subject of a scam.
Avoid scams by purchasing Clipper cards and products ONLY from authorized vendors such as clippercard.com, transit agency ticket offices, transit ticket machines, Walgreens and other participating retailers (full list here).
Can two people use the same card at the same time?
No, if two or more people are traveling together and want to use Clipper, each needs to have his or her own card.
Can a My Clipper account have more than one card associated with it?
Whenever you order a card online or by phone, a separate account is created for each card, so here's the easiest way to add a second adult Clipper card to your account: Get one from a participating transit agency ticket office or retailer, log in to your My Clipper account, and click on "Register another card". Youth and senior Clippers cards must have their own accounts.
My spouse, relative, or close friend needs help managing their registered Clipper card. How can I manage the account on their behalf?
The Clipper program, as a matter of law and policy, does not disclose Clipper account information to someone who is not the registered cardholder, unless Clipper has the cardholder's authorization to do so. Registered cardholders can complete and sign a form authorizing another individual to act on behalf of the cardholder. To request a form and find out more information about the authorization requirements, please contact Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883.
Can I get a refund for the value on my card?
Refunds are only available to registered cardholders and are limited to cash value and unused passes and ridebooks. We cannot give refunds for partially used passes or tickets. Additionally, federal tax law prohibits refunds if a card has received any value through an employee transit benefit program. Customers cannot get a refund for any of the funds on the card - even if there was value on the card before joining the benefit program or if personal funds have been added separate from transit benefits.
There is a $5 administrative fee for processing a refund request; if your card does not have at least $5 in value on it, your refund request will not be processed.
To get a refund, complete the Clipper Cancellation Form and send it to Clipper Customer Service along with your payment information. Your refund request should be processed within 30 days.
Questions About Using Clipper with Specific Transit Providers
Frequently asked questions about Clipper on AC Transit
Frequently asked questions about Clipper on BART
Frequently asked questions about Clipper on Caltrain
Frequently asked questions about Clipper on Golden Gate Transit & Ferry
Frequently asked questions about Clipper on Muni
Frequently asked questions about Clipper on SamTrans
Frequently asked questions about Clipper on VTA
Questions About Types of Value and How to Add Value
Where can I add value to my Clipper card?
You can add value in several ways. Value added in person is available instantly, while it may take up to 3-5 days for value added online or over the phone to be available.*
- Online at clippercard.com - available within 3-5 days
- Automatically - by setting up Autoload online at clippercard.com
- Over the phone - by calling 877.878.8883 - available within 3-5 days
- In person - at participating retailers, participating transit agencies' ticket vending machines and ticket offices, Clipper Customer Service Centers, and Clipper Add Value Machines (click here for locations) - available immediately
- At work - through your employee transit benefit program- if ordered online, available by the first day of the benefit month
Do Add Value Machines give change?
No, if cash is used to purchase a transit pass or cash from an Add Value Machine but exact change is not used, any remaining balance will be added to the Clipper card as cash value.
Can I use the cash loaded on my Clipper card to purchase a transit pass for my card?
Cash and transit passes are treated as separate products by the Clipper card. Once a product is loaded onto the card, it cannot be converted or exchanged for another product. For example, you cannot convert an existing transit pass into an equivalent amount of cash value, nor can you exchange your cash value for a transit pass.
When does the value I've added to my card appear on my card?
When you add value to your Clipper card either through the website (not through Autoload) or over the phone, it can take up to 3-5 days for the value to be available to be loaded onto your card. Once the value is available, you must touch your card to a card reader in order to load the value. Your card balance will not be updated until you have touched your card and loaded the value. If you add value to your card at a retailer, ticket office or Clipper Add Value Machine, your value is immediately loaded onto your card.
Questions about Autoload
How does Autoload work with my Clipper card?
With Autoload, Clipper will automatically add value to your card whenever your balance falls below $10 for transit and below $40 for parking, your transit pass expires, or you have only two rides remaining on a multi-ride transit ticket. Clipper charges your selected bank account or credit card after loading value to your card.
When will I be able to use my Autoload value, and when will I be charged?
When you first set up Autoload using a credit card, it can take up to five days for the changes to take effect. If you use a bank account, it can take up to 10 business days.
If you are setting up Autoload for cash value, parking value or BART High Value Discount tickets, Clipper won't charge your credit card or bank account until you tag your Clipper card to a card reader and load the value.
If you are setting up Autoload for a transit pass for the first time, Clipper will charge your credit card or bank account before making the pass available for you to pick up. After that, Clipper will not charge you until after you tag your card and load your pass on it.
I set up Autoload, but it's not showing up in my online account. Why not?
When you first set up Autoload, the process is not complete until (1) we confirm you have provided a valid payment source and then (2) you tag your card to a card reader and activate Autoload. Once you do that, your Autoload set-up will appear in your account.
Do I have to add value to set up my Autoload?
When you set up Autoload for a transit pass or multi-ride ticket, you will have to purchase a new pass or multi-ride ticket at that time. The Caltrain system also requires you to have a cash value balance of $1.25 in order to activate Autoload for a Monthly Pass or 8-ride Ticket. You do not need to add value to set up Autoload for cash value, BART High Value Discount tickets or parking value.
How do I edit the payment information I used to set up my Autoload?
Log in to your My Clipper account, click on the "Payment Information" link in the left-hand navigation bar, provide your payment information details and click "Save".
When you update the payment information details, the new credit card or bank account will be used for every card associated with your account that is set up for Autoload.
Note: You cannot use different payment methods for each of your cards with Autoload.
What if my card doesn't work, and the card reader says "BLOCKED BAD DEBT"?
There are several reasons why your Clipper card may not work to pay your fare. You can read more in the general FAQ.
If the card reader says "BLOCKED BAD DEBT", it means Clipper could not process your Autoload payment successfully. You can update your account information online on the "Payment Information" page.
After your payment information has been updated, Clipper will process payment from your new funding source, which can take up to five days if you are using a credit card or 10 days if you are using a bank account. Once Clipper successfully collects funds to pay for the value already added, we will email telling you your card has been unblocked. For your card to work and your Autoload value to be available, you must tag your card to a card reader.
How do I cancel Autoload?
Log in to your My Clipper account and scroll to the card for which you want to cancel Autoload. Click on "Disable Autoload". When a confirmation box pops up, click "Yes". Clipper will continue to Autoload your card according to your account settings until your cancellation order is processed. This may take up to five days. The process is completed when you "deactivate" Autoload by tagging your card. To check on the status of your cancellation order, please call Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883.
Questions About Employee Transit Benefit Programs
Does Clipper work with employee transit benefit programs?
Clipper works with Commuter Check® , WageWorks® and other transit benefit providers. Talk to your human resources department or read about employee transit benefits online to learn more. Learn more about employee transit benefit programs.
My transit benefit program told me they sent you the money. Why isn't it on my Clipper card?
Due to the time required to process the transit benefit orders, there is a gap between the time that orders are sent from the various transit benefit companies and when Clipper issues the value to cards. Your value will be available by the first day of the benefit month, and you must tag your card to a card reader for it to load the value. If you do not receive your transit benefit value by the first day of the benefit month, please contact Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883 (TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929).
Why is there a fee to load transit benefits to my Clipper card every month?
Clipper charges third-party benefits administrators (like WageWorks and Commuter Check) a monthly per-account fee to process and load transit benefits orders directly to their customers' Clipper cards. Some third-party administrators may pass along this monthly processing fee to their clients (employers), and some of those employers may choose to pass the fee along to their employees. The fee will only be charged if you choose to have your order loaded directly to your Clipper card and you accept the fee when you place your transit benefits order.
You can choose not to pay the fee and order transit vouchers or have your benefits loaded to a commuter debit card instead. Check with your employer or transit benefits provider to find out what options are available where you work.
Can I use my commuter debit card to set up Autoload for my Clipper card?
You can use your commuter debit card to set up Autoload on your Clipper card, but Clipper recommends you set up a regular credit card as a backup payment card in your account. That way, if your Clipper card needs reloading at a time when funds are not available on your transit benefit card, the entire order will be charged to your backup card. This ensures that you will receive your transit order and that your Clipper card will not be blocked due to insufficient funds on your primary (commuter) card.
What happens if my benefit order will exceed the $300 cash balance limit?
If your next order will cause your Clipper card to exceed the $300 maximum balance, Clipper cannot load the funds to your card. You have up to six months to spend down your balance, so you can load the funds. If you haven't reduced your balance by that time, the order will expire, and Clipper will return the value to your transit benefit provider.
What happens if I don't tag my Clipper card to load my transit benefit value to my card?
Your transit benefit order should be available by the first of the benefit month. You have up to 180 days after an order becomes available to tag a card reader and load your benefit value to your card. However, if you tag and load a calendar-month pass after the validity period has expired, you will not be able to use the pass and you will not be eligible for a refund. If you do not tag your card at all during the 180-day period and would like a refund of your benefit order, contact your transit benefit company for assistance.
How do I get a refund for transit benefit value that is not added to my card as intended?
You should contact the customer service department of your transit benefit company for assistance.
What happens if I decide to cancel my Clipper card? Who gets the refund of the transit benefit value?
If you have loaded value to your Clipper card through a transit benefit provider, the transit value is ineligible for refunds-even if you had value on the card before joining the benefit program or if you have added your own funds separate from your transit benefits.
My employer reimburses me for transit expenses. How can I get a record of what I have spent?
Registered Clipper customers can request a card transaction history. Card transaction histories are available in PDF. Simply log in to your account and request a 30- or 60-day report for any card listed on your account. You also can contact Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883 (TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929).
Can my employer open an account with Clipper to provide transit benefits?
Clipper Direct is a transit benefit program offered exclusively by Clipper. Clipper Direct makes it easy for employees to manage their transit benefits conveniently online. Visit clipperdirectbenefits.com for more information.
What if I get a new Clipper card?
If you need to change the Clipper card associated with an online transit benefit account, you need to update the Clipper card serial number in your transit benefit account when you place your next order. If you get a replacement card after the deadline for modifying a transit benefit order has passed, please contact Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883 (TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929).
Questions About Card Problems
What should I do if my card is lost or stolen?
If your card is registered with the Clipper Customer Service Center, your balance is secure. You can report your card lost or stolen by:
- Logging in to your "My Clipper" account and clicking on "Report Lost, Stolen or Damaged Card"
- Calling 877.878.8883 (TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929)
Your card will be blocked from further use at the end of the business day (you're responsible for its value until then) and we'll mail you a new card. Replacement cards are typically ready to be shipped within 2 business days of the card being reported lost or stolen.
If you would like to replace your card more quickly, please call the Clipper Customer Service number to report your card lost/stolen first. Then, you can visit one of Clipper's in-person Customer Service Center locations the next business day to pick up a replacement card. NOTE: Cards linked to Clipper Direct accounts cannot be replaced at our in-person Customer Service Centers. Replacement cards will be sent via USPS from our Concord office.
The Clipper Customer Service Center at BART Embarcadero station operates Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
The Clipper Customer Service Center at the Bay Crossings store in the San Francisco Ferry Building is open Monday–Saturday, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
The Clipper Customer Service Center at AC Transit, located at 1600 Franklin Street in Oakland, operates Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
There is a $5 fee for restoring balances.
What should I do if my card stops working?
If your card stops working, it may be either damaged or defective. Your card may also be blocked if it is being used fraudulently or if we have problems charging your Autoload account. Call the Clipper Customer Service Center toll-free at 877.878.8883 (TTY/TDD 711 or 800.735.2929) to report the problem and get instructions for requesting a replacement.
If you suspect your card to be defective, you will need to return your card to the Clipper Customer Service Center to be examined. If your card is found to be defective through no fault of your own and you have had it for less than a year, Clipper will replace the defective card and restore your balance free of charge. If your card is damaged, however, you are responsible for the fees associated with a replacement card and restoration of your balance.
For immediate replacement of non-personalized cards, you may bring your damaged or defective Clipper card to one of the two in-person customer service locations in downtown San Francisco. You must have your card with you when you request a replacement.
The Clipper Customer Service Center at BART Embarcadero station operates Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–8 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
The Clipper Customer Service Center at the Bay Crossings store in the San Francisco Ferry Building is open Monday–Saturday, 7 a.m.–7 p.m., and on Sunday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
The Clipper Customer Service Center at AC Transit located at 1600 Franklin Street in Oakland, operates Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
I was charged the wrong fare-can I get reimbursed?
Call the Clipper Customer Service Center at 877.878.8883, TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929, to request reimbursement of any cash fares you feel have been mistakenly charged to your card.
Questions About Discounts
Is there a discount when adding value to a Clipper card?
BART riders can purchase BART High Value Discount (HVD) tickets for their Clipper card with Clipper Autoload or through many transit benefits programs. These tickets provide a 6.25% discount on BART fare ($48 ticket for $45 or $64 ticket for $60).
Discounts on AC Transit, Muni, SamTrans, VTA and Caltrain are available with the purchase of a pass or ride book.
BART riders can Autoload a BART High Value Discount ticket to receive a discount on BART.
How can I get a Youth Discount or Senior Discount Clipper card?
Please visit clippercard.com/discount
How do youth and senior fare discounts work with Clipper?
Clipper youth and senior cards are specially encoded to automatically calculate the discounted cash or monthly pass fare each time you use Clipper. All participating transit agencies offer an cash discount equivalent to the discount they offer for cash-paying customers. Each agency offers its own discounted passes and ride books for eligible customers. The Clipper fare payment system automatically recognizes that your card is eligible for one of these discounted products; they will only be available to you via the Clipper website, over the phone, at a self-serve machine or in person at a Clipper retailer or transit agency ticket office if you have a Clipper youth or senior card.
I have a youth card. What happens when I am no longer eligible for youth discounts?
Youth discounts will no longer be granted when your age exceeds the age limit for youth discounts established by the transit agency being used. On the day you are no longer eligible for a youth discount according to the transit agency being used, adult fares will be required.
- If the card has cash, Clipper will automatically begin charging you the adult fare.
- If the card has a youth pass or ride book, the pass will be cancelled the day you are no longer eligible for youth discounts. This will happen even if it is the beginning or middle of a pass or if you still have rides left.
- If the card has cash and a youth pass or ride book, Clipper will automatically start deducting adult fare from your cash balance and your youth pass or ride book will be cancelled.
If your card is set up for Autoload and your birthday is coming up, you should disable Autoload before the new pass or ride book is loaded to prevent a product from being loaded that you will not be able to fully use. After your birthday has passed, set up Autoload to load adult passes or ride books.
Can I add my child's/parent's Clipper youth/senior card to my Clipper account?
Each youth and senior card is automatically registered by the Clipper Customer Service Center and therefore will have its own My Clipper account. You can manage that account online using the same credit card that you use for any other Clipper cards; however, you will have to use a separate login to access the account.
I am eligible for a youth or senior card, but I do not have any of the accepted forms of proof of eligibility. How can I apply for a card?
If you do not have one of the accepted documents, you can submit a request in writing to your local transit agency with additional information that you feel will demonstrate that you are eligible. For example, if your child's school is willing to write a letter testifying that your child is eligible, you can submit that with your appeal. Any documentation should contain the applicant's date of birth. Your transit agency will respond to your appeal within 60 days.
I have been using an adult Clipper card but now have a youth/senior card. Can I transfer my cash balance from my adult card to my discount card?
Please contact the Clipper Customer Service Center at 877.878.8883 (TTY/TDD 711 or 800.735.2929) to request a balance transfer. Note that only cash value can be transferred; monthly passes and multi-ride tickets cannot be transferred.
I got my Youth Clipper card from AC Transit, and it had my photo on it. Do I need to go to AC Transit to have another photo taken for a replacement card?
No, you can report your card lost or stolen by logging into your "My Clipper" account and clicking on "Report lost or stolen card" or by calling Clipper Customer Service at 877.878.8883 (TDD/TTY 711 or 800.735.2929). You will receive a replacement card without a photo in the mail.
AC Transit no longer requires youth monthly pass customers to have a photo on their Clipper cards, so you do not have to go in person to have a photo taken. However, if you don't want to wait to receive your replacement card in the mail, you do have the option to call and report your card lost or stolen and then visit any Clipper Customer Service Center (see locations here and get a replacement card on the spot, you must have reported your card lost or stolen one day before).
Questions About the RTC Clipper Card
Frequently asked questions about the RTC Clipper card
Questions About Clipper's New Automated Phone Service
How does Clipper's new Automated Phone Service benefit me?
With Clipper's new Automated Phone Service, you can update your Clipper card and get account information without having to wait to speak to a customer service representative. For example, Clipper's new Automated Phone Service allows you to check the current balance on your card and add value over the phone. It's a quick, easy service for getting you on your way faster.
What can I do with Clipper's new Automated Phone Service?
- Get information about your pending orders and actions
- Check current account balances on your passes, discount tickets, ride books and current Clipper card cash value
- Access and listen to your recent transaction history
- Add value to the Clipper card
- Request a replacement card
- Get detailed information on the Clipper program and transit agency passes and ridebooks
Is my account information safe on Clipper's new Automated Phone Service system?
Clipper's new Automated Phone Service was built with security in mind. Changes to your account require the use of a Personal Identification Number (PIN), similar to what you might use at an ATM. This PIN is unique to you and ensures that others cannot access your account.
How do I gain access to my card information on Clipper's new Automated Phone Service?
If you haven't registered your Clipper card yet, you will need to register it online here. Registration is simple: you will be asked for the serial number on the back of your Clipper card, and for additional contact information, a valid email address. If you have already registered your card, you only need to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use Clipper's new Automated Phone Service system.
How do I create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for Clipper's new Automated Phone Service?
- First, make sure you have registered your Clipper card online here by providing a valid email address.
- When calling Clipper's new Automated Phone Service for the first time, you will be asked to enter a personalized, four-digit PIN. You should pick a number that is easy to remember, but not one that others may know or guess-don't choose 1111, 1234, your birth year, or similar numbers.
- After you have chosen and entered your PIN, hang up and go to the email account associated with your Clipper card.
- In your email account, you will find an activation email from Clipper. Open the email and click on the PIN activation link. The link will direct you to an online Clipper page, confirming that your PIN has been activated.
- Once your PIN has been activated, simply enter it whenever you phone Clipper's new Automated Phone Service in order to access your account.
What happens if I forget my Personal Identification Number (PIN)?
When calling Clipper's new Automated Phone Service, you will be prompted to enter a PIN or you will be reassigned a PIN. Follow the automated prompts and a new PIN will be sent to your email account. Be sure to keep a record of your new PIN.
I have not registered my card. Why can't I make changes to my account with Clipper's new Automated Phone Service?
Registering your card helps protect your Clipper account. By providing Clipper with a valid email address, we can verify your identity and ensure that you are the only person who can access your account.
How often is Clipper's new Automated Phone Service available?
Clipper's new Automated Phone Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some functions that require assistance from a customer service representative may not be available during non-business hours.
How does Clipper protect my privacy?
The policy states that MTC shares PII only with the following groups:
- Participating transit agencies for the purpose of operating and managing Clipper;
- Persons or entities contracting with the Clipper program, solely for the purpose of operating and managing Clipper; and
- In order to comply with laws or legal processes served on MTC or Clipper Contractors.
Customer PII may only be used by MTC to perform necessary account management activities. Customers who wish to use Clipper anonymously may do so by not registering their cards.
Anonymous data and aggregate data may be used by MTC for any MTC purpose, and MTC may make anonymous data and aggregate data available to third parties.
The full policy is available at: clippercard.com/privacy
How long is Personally Identifiable Information (PII) retained by Clipper?
For the period from July 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013, Clipper received two subpoenas requesting information. Information was released in one case; in the other case no responsive records were found.
For the period from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014, Clipper received one court order and three subpoenas, requesting information. Information was released pursuant to one of the subpoenas because the signed written consent of the person whose records were being sought was obtained. In the other instances, MTC was required to withhold the requested information due to the statutory requirements of California Streets & Highways Code Section 31490, which became effective on January 1, 2014 with respect to electronic transit fare collection systems.
This information will be updated and posted on an annual basis.