CTA Ventra card: How to activate without the email

CTA Tattler reader fredflintstone was kind enough to provide some great instructions for you riders who have a Chicago Card Plus, want to activate your new Ventra Card that you received in the mail, you haven't received an email with your login information

His tips:

1. Go to https://www.ventrachicago.com/
2. Click on "Account Login" (upper right hand corner), and click on Forgot Your "Username".
3. Enter the 16 digit card number from your new Ventra Card.
4. Enter the email address that was associated with your Chicago Card Plus account and then click on the Submit button.

You should then receive an email with your login information including password.

Hopefully, this will save some of you from having to make a 40+ minute call to Ventra.

FYI, your Ventra username is the same as your Chicago Card Plus account username and your account activation code is your Chicago Card Plus PIN ID.

If you haven't received your new Ventra Card to replace your Chicago Card Plus yet, I would recommend logging into you Chicago Card Plus account at www.chicago-card.com. It should prompt you to confirm your current mailing address. Once you do that, you should receive your Ventra Card in the mail in about 2 weeks.

Thanks Fred!
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  • fb_avatar

    Does anyone know how to work around the mess that is the Money Network debit card? I tried to login ... doesn't work. I try to create a new account and it says my card number and expiration date are wrong. Not so. I tried the iphone app and it does take the card number and expiration date, but then says my birthdate, CCV code, and last four of the SS number are wrong. Not so. I called Money Network and had no delay talking to someone but they just tossed me over to Ventra where I was greeted with "All circuits are busy, try again." Got on the phone with Ventra and was willing to endure the 30 minute wait but it dropped the call after ten minutes. On the phone again for a 40 minute wait.

    This is such a joke. Thanks Kevin, for having your blog where I vent my rage. Beats throwing my iPhone against a brick wall after dealing with Ventra. God, this mess makes me wish for the good old days of tokens.

  • In reply to Robert Eltzholtz:

    Why are you signing up for debit?

  • fb_avatar

    Part II: I waited the 40 minutes finally to get an agent. She was very friendly and nice, but GAG! To verify me, she had to call back my phone. I answer it. There she is. She then puts me on hold. CLICK. Both lines dropped. She has my number. Has she called back? No. Has the issue we were working on been adressed? NO. Ventra can blow outta here.

  • In reply to Robert Eltzholtz:

    Cheryl asked you the correct question, to which you did not respond.

    The people who asked the question you did were glad to find out that they couldn't activate the debit card, since the charges are outrageous, although not as outrageous as some other debit cards.

    If you need a debt card, it was suggested about 6 months ago to get something like Bluebird card, which claims not have fees.

  • Thanks to you and fredflintstone for this info. I never received "the" email (or my spam filter ate it) but finally received my card on the 10th (right before Columbus Day). Still no email, but instead on the 17th , a phone message from Nextiva telling me I had received an email on 10/9 (um, no) and telling me how to activate the card (generic, no codes). Sigh. Yesterday I followed the steps above, set the access code, then activated the card by phone, and edited my account details, including setting up the auto-reload info.

    Hurray, right? Not exactly. The Ventra website now shows a balance of the auto-load amount but no transfer of CCP balance. We'll see what happens on Tuesday when I actually try to USE the card.

  • In reply to CarolynA2:

    You gave them your phone number?

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    I must have been so foolish back when I had a transit benefit account feeding my CCP card meant moons ago

  • fb_avatar

    Thank you so much! As someone who never received "the" email and who Ventra continually hangs up on when I call, this saved me a huge headache.

    Now at least my husband and I can share my card, since his never arrived.

  • fb_avatar

    Here is my experience with VENTRA one week after activating my card and CCP balance not transferred.
    I called customer service yesterday.
    1st attempt : wait was 38 mn. 20 mn later it was still 30 mn wait...:-) then i got disconnected.
    2nd attempt : after 20 mn i talked to Suzanne. She asked me to send her an email to customerservice@ventrachicago.com , Attn Suzanne, with my CCP number, my VENTRA card number, my name and first name and in an ATTACHMENT, a screenshot of my CCP Account summary showing the balance. Did that and 15 mn later Suzanne called me back to say that the balance has been transferred.
    She was very friendly. At the beginning of the phone call, i was asked if i wanted to do answer a survey after my call. I would be connected to the survey after my call with VENTRA. The call with VENTRA ended but I was never transferred to answer the email. Good for them...

  • fb_avatar

    That's really my business why I need the debit card. But if y'all must know, since my CCP balance did not transfer right away, as I expected it to (silly me, this being Ventra), I added $20 to it. Then I set to reload at $20. The thing then immediately reloaded and then transferred the CCP balance, leaving me with more than $50 on the card.

    Since I used FB to comment here, check out my page and you'll see the nightmare worse than Ventra I'm going through with getting disability pay while I am medically unfit to work. So I need that cash. That's why I want the debit option so I can use some of that money at the Jewel to buy some food.

    And HI to Kevin. I just moved north of Devon so you have another Rogers Parker in your midst!

    I know the pitfalls of prepaid debit cards, but Ventra, MoneyNetwork, and the CTA have at least $20 I didn't intend to lose right away.

    I could go on, but the frustration with Ventra is the last thing I need while dealing with the greed, cupidity, and downright nastiness of certain insurance companies -- a topic for another blog somewhere.

  • In reply to Robert Eltzholtz:

    Someone asked the same question on chicagobus.org today, and the answer there was that there is no way to transfer a transit account to a prepaid debit card account on the same card.

    CTA has the $20 bucks, and you better figure out how to spend it down.

  • Here's another Ventra beef:

    I rode the blue line as usual, swiped in and paid with my card as usual. When I left from work, tried to swipe in through the turnstiles... STOP! Wouldn't work. Tried multiple gates multiple times. Nothing. Had to get assistance and we swiped my card at the Ventra machine and its showed "Suspended" and a negative $2.25 balance on my card. I signed up for the monthly pass and for it to auto-reload so I thought this was odd.

    So, I called them and while I waited for about 25-30 minutes for someone to answer, I went into the website and notice the same thing the machine said. I paid for another 30 day pass, again clicking the auto-reload option.

    I finally got someone on the line and they suggested that I might not have set up the auto-reload option, but then looked into it further and said that it had been enabled when I set it up. They did not know why it didn't auto-reload. They also told me that my card expired at 7:04AM and I swiped my card at 6:59AM, 5 minutes before it expired. She could not explain why it left a negative balance on my card since she said it was not double-tapped. She removed the negative balance, but the main issue is that it didn't auto-reload and I don't know if it will work next month either. I hope this doesn't happen to a lot of people, otherwise this will be an even bigger mess than the sign-up process.

  • In reply to chris:

    She said she'd call me back after telling an engineer about the problem, but I'm not going to hold my breath. She was nice, but I just hope the problem doesn't happen again.

  • It seems the only thing Ventra employees are good at is hanging up on people.

    I have another gripe--I would like to see my balance when I tap my card. I bought a 30 day pass but have been checking my balance every day online because I had my CC+ card suddenly switch from 30 day to pay per use once, and that was a PITA to get it switched back. I just want to be warned when this thing does that.

  • fb_avatar

    You are correct Jack that the balance on the transit side is NOT the same balance on the prepaid side. Silly me, thinking they were one in the same. What rational person would think that? All the good will the CTA developed in me with the north side Red Line station rehabs is and the more ambitious south side Red Line rehab is just blown away by this Ventra mess.

    But, that $20 will get used. When I become homeless (thanks to a certain insurance company that thinks a newly disabled person can afford to go two months with no income), I can ride the 147 to South Water and walk to my new home on Lower Wacker.

  • In reply to Robert Eltzholtz:

    The point that the two accounts on one card were not fungible came out when it was first raised how do they make sure that transit benefits are not spent at McDonald's, to which the answer was "there is a separate transit account." That theme continued to the prior discussion about using an open media bank card gets you charged cash fares unless you load a transit account on it.

    I suppose the worst of all worlds would be if someone had a Ventra card with a drained transit account and an active debit account, and unknowingly got charged a cash fare plus all the debit card charges.

  • fb_avatar

    Ok, here's a question: Trying to link Payflex to Ventra; the Payflex site is asking for a 12-digit (??) Transit Account ID. Which is what? Here's what their FAQs say:

    Q: What is a Transit Account?
    A: You must enter your new Transit Account ID at the time of placing your order for pre-tax commuter benefits. A Transit Account is a secure individual account that can be registered to your Ventra Card. You must have a Transit Account ID in order to have funds preloaded to your Ventra account through a benefit provider.

    So, how/where do I obtain this magic 12-digit code?

  • In reply to Freddy Flow:

    You will find it when you log in to the Ventra site.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Where? I see Account Access Code, but that's it. And that's only 4 digits.

  • fb_avatar

    And another thing: When I log into ventrachicago.com, it keeps asking me to update my account. Ok, and when I try to do so, I get this message:

    Username must include a minimum of 4 characters and can include alphanumeric and select special characters ("_", ".", "@")

    But I'm not trying to change the username! In fact, I can't, that field cannot be edited...


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