Using Clipper

To use your card, locate the Clipper card reader and tag it by holding it flat against the Clipper logo. The card reader will be inside the door of a bus or streetcar; at the Muni or BART fare gates; on the Caltrain, SMART or VTA platform; or at the ferry terminal. On the cable car, the conductor carries a handheld card reader. If you are traveling on a transit service that charges based on distance or zones (BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, Marin Transit, San Francisco Bay Ferry, SMART and Sonoma County Transit) you will need to tag your card again at the end of your trip.

When you tag your card, the card reader will display the fare you paid and your remaining balance or pass expiration date.

Some transit agencies charge fares based on distance or zones. When you board or tag on, you are charged the maximum fare, and when you tag off, the difference between the maximum fare and the fare you should pay is credited to your card.

Imagine you want to take a trip on SMART that costs $5.50. When you tag and board SMART, your card will initially be charged the maximum SMART fare of $11.50. If you forget to tag off, that’s the fare you will pay. But if you tag off, Clipper will return the difference of $6 to your card.

The other reason to tag off is to take advantage of eligible free or discounted rides when you transfer from one transit agency to another.

A Single beep and a green light means you paid for your ride.

Two beeps and a yellow light means you paid, but your remaining balance is less than $2.

Three beeps and a red light means your card wasn’t accepted. Tag again or use another payment method.

For Caltrain and SMART, you can cancel your ride and get a full refund if you tag again at the same station within 15 minutes. After your second tag, the card reader will display a message that your initial tag was refunded. If you want to ride, you will need to tag again. If you tag again outside of the cancellation window, you will be charged the maximum one-way fare.

Try tagging your card again. Hold it flat against the Clipper logo on the card reader until you hear it beep or the BART fare gate displays \“OK”\. If you store your card in a wallet or near chip-based cards that use radio frequency information, 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 mail your card to our Customer Service Center along with a completed Clipper Defective Card Form opens in new window for the card to be tested, or visit an in-person service location.

If your card is found to be defective through no fault of your own and you have had it for less than a year, we will replace the defective card and restore your balance free of charge. If it is damaged, however, you will need to pay the $5 fee for a replacement card and restoration of your balance.

If you are participating in a special pass program through your employer, school or residence, please contact your program administrator for information about getting a replacement card.

If you used your old card with a transit benefit program, BART EZ Rider Parking or Bay Wheels, you will need to give that provider your new card serial number. To find out more information about replacing an RTC card, please visit Opens in new window

Call Clipper Customer Service 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.

No, every rider needs their own card.

You can get an adult Clipper card and load cash value (accepted by all Bay Area transit agencies) at the BART San Francisco International Airport station in the International Terminal. You can also stop at a transportation information booth to buy a card and load all types of value, including the Muni Visitor Passport good for 1, 3 or 7 days of unlimited rides on San Francisco’s transit system. You can find the booths with Clipper cards on the arrivals level at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 or on the departures level at the International Terminal. For more information, visit Sales and Service Locations.

At the Oakland International Airport, just a short walk from either terminal is the BART Oakland Airport station, where you board the BART to OAK train to go to the BART Coliseum station; once at Coliseum station, you can buy a card, load cash value and tag your card to exit BART to OAK and transfer to another train to reach other stations in the BART system.

To view fares and plan your trip, check specific transit agency websites.

Yes, you can order a card and value online, but note we can only mail cards to domestic addresses. To order a Clipper card, visit Get Card. You can also order value at the same time. Your card should arrive within 5 to 10 days.

If you know that your Clipper card is not damaged or defective, call Bay Wheels Opens in new window at 855.480.2453 to see if there’s an issue with your account or an issue with the equipment at the bike share station.