Clipper HQ Answers Your E-Cash, $2 Fee Questions

Muni Clipper Ticketing Machine - Civic Center Secondary Gates
Photo by AgentAkit

Last week on Muni Diaries, you asked lots of questions about Clipper cards, which prompted Clipper headquarters to respond in the comments of the post. We compiled Clipper’s responses in case you missed them.

My Clipper card is damaged and I need a replacement. What can I do?

Clipper recently opened two walk-up customer service centers in San Francisco that can replace a damaged or defective Clipper card immediately (you have to bring the card with you to the Customer Service Center.

The customer service centers are at the Bay Crossings store in San Francisco’s Ferry Building and on the mezzanine level at the Embarcadero BART/Muni station.

I’d like to use e-cash on the cable cars, but they don’t accept it yet. Any idea when?

It sounds like you take Muni and the cable car alot, so it might save you money to purchase a Muni monthly pass (the “A” pass lets you ride all Muni vehicles and BART within San Francisco and the “M” pass is good only Muni vehicles).

Muni cable cars will be getting handheld card readers that can deduct cash fares from Clipper cards. I don’t know when the cable car operators will begin carrying them, but they are coming.

Why is my benefits company charging me $2 extra to put a Fast Pass on my Clipper card?

Clipper does not authorize the $2 monthly fee for customers who get transit benefits loaded directly onto their Clipper cards.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which runs the Clipper program, has demanded that the Clipper contractor Cubic Transportation Systems and Commuter Check’s parent company, Edenred USA immediately discontinue the $2 customer service fee.

Stay tuned for more on this issue. You can check for updates on our website, “Like” us on Facebook (Bay Area Clipper) or follow us on Twitter (@BayAreaClipper).

Caltrain needs more Clipper card readers. Some platforms only have one reader.

Thanks for your feedback on the readers at Caltrain’s stations. We’ve heard the same feedback from other Caltrain customers and have shared the input with Caltrain.

If you’ve got questions about Clipper cards, ask them in the comments below.


  • Q: When will the Clipper folks learn to spell “a lot”?

  • Vincent

    I’ve posted this just a few minutes ago in the original thread but just in case…

    For me, I’ve had a Translink card since the PILOT program and also both a TransLink and Clipper card since mid-2010. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. was giving the 10% cashback for anyone charging directly from the transit agency with their Chase Debit/Credit cards, Clipper or taxi’s from September-November 2010 so it made it worthwhile to load a Muni “M” Pass for me and a Muni Senior/RTC Disabled Monthly pass for her during those months as we loaded the cards at Muni Metro Machines. The problems are as follows and this is even following the advice here and at

    1) For Muni Metro, it takes multiple attempts before the tagging would give the authorization beep.

    2) There are times when there are fare inspectors and sometimes they can’t read the card or something and for people like my mom who can’t speak, read or write english, it can be difficult as she doesn’t know how to tell the fare inspectors to check history of the card so I always had my mom keep the receipt from the purchase with her and the fare inspectors are idiots because for the November Muni pass for example, my mom showed the fare inspector the receipt which was dated October 26, 2010 and the fare inspector said it was no good because it was last months. These guys needs to be better trained as you can buy the next months passes beginning on the 16th of the prior month which means that October 26, 2010 loading can only load a November 2010 pass and not a October 2010 pass.

    3) The issue with Cable Cars is the the conductors would require you to take out your card and hand it to them before they put it on their scanner. This actually creates a burden on my badgeholder which is on a lanyard as all they have to do is put their scanner over the card like the fare inspectors do when I am holding the clippercard for their scanning convenience but they still want me to hand them the card.

    As the 10% cash back incentive from JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ended in November 2010, I went back with paper passes for myself and my mom for December 2010 until the passes are no longer available because with my credit cards for example, I get 5% cash back from grocery stores, drug stores so buying the passes from Safeway would make me pay only 95% of price and they only handle paper passes, no clipper yet. While Walgreens is a drugstore, the problem is while Walgreens accepts credit cards for purchases, they only accept cash for transit passes which I thought was against the credit card companies rules since when they display their logos, they need to accept it but I don’t know if loading clipper at Walgreens, is it cash only or would they accept credit cards as well. Even if there wasn’t the 5% cash back, I still can get 3% cash back with my other credit card by buying at a hardware store such as Cole Hardware which only sells paper passes but no clipper and in that case, I actually get 3% cash back from the credit card company plus another 5% from Cole Hardware in their Frequent Shopper program as long as I make a $5 purchase in addition to the Muni passes so that’s making it 8% cheaper or 92% of face value. I’m in San Francisco and hope someone at Clipper will answer my concerns.

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