Switching from TransLink to Clipper

Image courtesy SFist

Until yesterday, I still had a TransLink card. It stopped working last weekend, spontaneously. I guess it had served me as long as it was willing to, and put in for early retirement without letting me know.

So yesterday I decided to trade it for a Clipper card. The entire experience was relatively painless. If you, like me until yesterday, held onto your TransLink card through the arbitrary and expensive rebranding to Clipper, there is no need to switch unless your Translink card has stopped working (usually because of a scratch or crack or other mishap). But if your Translink card has stopped working, here’s what to do:

(This step-by-step is for riders whose e-cash TransLink card is set to autoload.)

  1. On the Clipper website, disable your autoload.
  2. Go to a Clipper service kiosk. There’s one at the Embarcadero BART station, one in the Ferry Building, and one at Geary Boulevard and Presidio Avenue. Ask for a new card, and they’ll set it up with your existing account. The money in your account should be fine, but if they don’t offer that information, ask.
  3. When you get home, register your new card on the Clipper website. Go to Register Another Card on the left navigation bar, and follow the steps.
  4. Also on the Clipper site, you’ll need to reactivate your autoload. Use the Set up Autoload option on the left navigation bar.

If you have your Fast Pass on TransLink and want to make the switch, call the Clipper customer service (877.878.8883) to make sure the Fast Pass is loaded onto your new Clipper card. While my experience was rather seamless (the correct cash amount appeared on my card the first time I used it after activating it), we’d love to know what your experience was when you switched over. Let us know in comments, please.


  • Rob Nagle

    Good advice, thanks Jeff. I may have to do this eventually.

  • anon

    My Translink card broke a few days ago (cracked) so I called clipper, but they refused to set up a new card without a $5 service fee and a mailing address for them to send it to. I had a Clipper card ready to see if they could transfer the pass to the new card number, but refused. Luckily it is the end of the month so it was relatively painless paying the $2. I’m not sure if it is different in person, but they won’t allow you to trade cards via the phone.

  • Wayne

    Hi there,
    Looking for a TransLink card for collection purposes if anyone has one that they are willing to part with. Thank you!

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