Clipper Direct FAQ for employees

What are transit benefits?

Section 132 (f) of the Internal Revenue Code allows employees to reduce their commuting costs on transit by paying for certain transit expenses on a pre-tax basis, while employers save 10% or more on payroll taxes. Employees can use up to $260 a month in pre-tax dollars to pay for their transit commuting expenses.

How do I use Clipper Direct?

Once your employer enrolls, we'll send you an email inviting you to set up your account. Once you have signed up, you can link your existing Clipper card to your Clipper Direct account or place an order for a new Clipper card, and then order cash and/or passes to be loaded onto your card for the following benefit month.

What if my monthly commute costs more than the pre-tax limit of $260?

You can pay the difference with post-tax dollars through the Clipper Direct program if your employer provides for post-tax payroll deductions, or pay the difference with a personal credit card.

What happens if I miss the cutoff date for ordering or need to change my order?

You will need to wait until the following month to add value to your Clipper card through the Clipper Direct program.

When does the value I've chosen get added to my card?

Orders placed by the 14th of the month will be available for the 1st of the following month. Example: Orders placed by June 14th will be available for July 1st. You will need to tag your card to a card reader in order to pick up the value ordered. Until you tag your card, your balance will not be updated.

What if I already have a Clipper card?

You can link your current card to your Clipper Direct account when you set up your Clipper Direct account; however, your card will become ineligible for any future refunds.

What if I already have a Clipper card with Autoload?

If you already have a Clipper card with Autoload set up, you will need to disable Autoload before you register with Clipper Direct. The Clipper Direct website will walk you through the process.

Does Clipper Direct offer parking, bicycling or vanpool benefits?

Not at this time.

Can I access my transit benefits through My Clipper account?

Once you begin loading value to your Clipper card through Clipper Direct, you will be able to manage your card through your Clipper Direct account.

If I don't already have a Clipper card, how do I get one?

Clipper Direct will send you a Clipper card with your first month's order if you don't already have one.

How much can I save?

Through an employer-sponsored transit benefit program, any monies spent on pre-tax transit purchases are monies you do not pay federal or state income taxes or FICA and Medicare taxes on. This can be a savings of 40% or more on the first $260 of transit expenses per month in 2018. Annually, you could save up to $1,224 using Clipper Direct .

Clipper Direct also helps your employer. Employers do not have to pay matching FICA and Medicare on funds employees spend on pre-tax transit. For example, with FICA and Medicare currently at a combined rate of 7.65%, your employer saves $7.65 on every $100 in pre-tax transit purchases by their employees.

Where can Clipper be used?

Clipper is accepted on most Bay Area transit agencies. Please visit clippercard.com for information about current participants.

How does the Clipper card work?

The Clipper card is a reloadable card that can be used to pay transit fares in the Bay Area. The card keeps track of the value loaded on it and automatically deducts the correct fare (including transfers and discounts).

You can load cash value, monthly passes, tickets or any combination. With one card, you can transfer between different transit systems with the correct discount applied and without having to carry a paper transfer. To use the card, simply "tag" the card by placing it flat against the logo on the card reader. The card reader will show the amount being charged or that a valid pass or transfer has been found. It will also show the cards remaining balance or the expiration date of the pass. For more specific information on Clipper, please visit clippercard.com