Yes folks, Sept. 9 is officially V-Day (Ventra Day). And I’ve got tips for buying the Ventra card online, and for using your own contactless bank card instead of Ventra.
Navigating the Ventra website to buy online. The VentraChicago.com website is not very intuitive for those of you who want to buy a Ventra card but don’t want to use it as a CTA or Pace pass (1-day, 3- day, weekly, monthly, etc.). That’s because you must select Load Transit Value instead of Purchase a Pass.
That’s not what I would expect to see when I don’t even have a card yet. Perhaps it should say Purchase Non-Pass Card. Then it should prompt you to Select Initial Card Value, instead of Add Transit Value.
Maybe I’m being picky here. But others I’ve talked to have been confused by this option as well. My 20-something daughter and her roommate found this and other parts of the process confusing – so much so that she bailed out twice before finally completing the entire online purchase process. She also mentioned she got no immediate confirmation email saying “thanks, you’ve completed the process.” That’s a simple step that now has come to be expected, especially when you give up your credit card information.
I hope this helps in getting you through the non-pass purchase process online. Of course, you can always buy one at over 700 retailers. Just enter your Zip code at the Ventra home page and you’ll get a map with retailers listed. Be sure and register the card online so you get the $5 purchase added as transit value on your card.
Register to use your own contactless bank card. You don’t have to get a Ventra card to use the new payment system. You can use your own contactless debit or credit card with the “Blink” logo on the back. But, you MUST register the card on the Ventra site to take pay 25 cents for a transfer. Otherwise, you will pay another full fare.
Tattler commenter Olaf1 posted this helpful hint:
1) Register your bankcard at http://www.ventrachicago.com. This will create a Ventra Transit Account.
2) Fund your Ventra Transit Account as if you were using a Ventra Card. You must put enough money into your Transit Account in advance to pay all your fares. If you come up even a nickel short, you can still use your bankcard to board, but your card will be charged a full fare and you will get NO TRANSFERS.
Unfortunately, when I checked Monday evening to register my debit card here, the page said “Coming Soon.”
Hopefully, that will be fixed shortly.
One final thought: Patience is the key with this new technology.
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