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Translink Buzzer Blog

New poll: How do you carry your Compass Card?

A photo of Instagram user @cherylkwan with her Compass Card in a lanyard

A photo of Instagram user @cherylkwan with her Compass Card in a lanyard

A few weeks ago we re-posted the image above and got lots of comments about how riders carry their Compass Cards and questions about the best ways to carry and tap.

plastic wallet

How do you carry your Compass Card?

Some customers have used sticker sleeves on the back of their smartphones, soft plastic mini-wallets or many simply take the card out of their regular wallet and tap that way.

It’s important to note that carrying your Compass Card on or in your phone case may stop it from tapping correctly.

Some newer smartphones can inhibit a successful tap on the readers. The Compass Card and/or reader won’t harm your phone or vice versa but you may have issues with your tap.

Traditional wallets can cause interference because of your other chip cards held there.

For me, I’m like Cheryl. I like my Compass Card in a plastic case attached to a lanyard so I can quickly find it in either my pocket or bag to tap.

Now, we want to know how YOU carry your Compass Card!

If you have other ideas that work, please comment below after voting!

How do you carry your Compass Card?

  • Wallet (34%, 230 Votes)
  • Phone case (19%, 126 Votes)
  • Loose (15%, 103 Votes)
  • Plastic sleeve (13%, 89 Votes)
  • Lanyard (12%, 78 Votes)
  • Other (6%, 43 Votes)

Total Voters: 669

Author: Adrienne Coling


  • By Rod, March 21, 2016 @ 2:30 pm

    It should be an option to carry it on my iPhone in Apple Wallet and any other NFC enable devices… You guys aren’t with the times. Look at how London transit does it.

  • By Rebecca, March 21, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

    I like to keep it loose in the small pocket where I keep my keys in my purse. Easy to get to and no issues tapping since it’s loose. This is how I always carried my bus pass too and never lost one so I feel it’s secure.

  • By elevtechlift, March 21, 2016 @ 5:22 pm

    Please make an app for Android, Windows, and BlackBerry with HCE support! Smartphone, tablet, and smartwatch users are willing to download and use the app while leaving the actual card at home or in the wallet at least!

  • By Jennifer, March 21, 2016 @ 7:02 pm

    I keep mine in an Oyster card holder I brought home from London last year.

  • By Ryan, March 21, 2016 @ 9:16 pm

    I carry mine in a plastic sleeve that merchant/advertisers hand out free of charge in London for Oyster Cards. It’s great to carry your card in an a fantastic way for companies to advertise across an entire network.

  • By Andrew, March 21, 2016 @ 10:14 pm

    I think Translink’s current focus is to get everyone transitioned over and comfortable with using compass card first. There’s also a fare policy review scheduled for sometime in 2017. Once the fare structure is set in stone, an app will probably be considered.

  • By Adrienne Coling, March 22, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

    Hi all, thanks for voting and contributing with your comments!
    As for the app talk, there aren’t plans for that right now as we are just getting to the full implementation period of Compass with gates closing on April 4 but if you’d like to see one, please send your suggestions to Customer Relations! Here’s the link where you can do that:
    Thanks! :)

  • By Tom Sopwith, May 31, 2016 @ 7:17 am

    My mini wallet with one credit card, a key fob for work , compass card (previously pass) and driving licence has worked for ever . When compass first came in this worked without issue to tap in directly from the wallet. Since April, it appears the consoles are now more sensitive or get confused by my credit card, so I have to remove it from the wallet. I have never had any sensitivity or interference issues with my office key fob (likely higher power sensors).

    So I am now forced to use two hands to remove card from wallet to tap.

    I have no problem removing a credit card from a wallet to pay in a store. The ground is stable, there are surfaces to place things on and I am not likely to be carrying a backpack, a skateboard or other baggage. However to tap in on a bus or sky train it MUST BE a one handed operation, or we will drop them, lose them and generally make loading s bus a very inefficient operation.

    I won’t tie it to my backpack – I don’t always have it with me – I won’t carry it loose – I’ll forget it, I won’t put it round my neck or on my wrist – I use it 4 times a day.

    Please give us an option with a perfectly placed hole for a key ring, or make the machines intelligent and strong enough to compete with my wallet and cards. You can do this, the tech’s been out for a while.

  • By Adrienne Coling, June 7, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

    Hi Tom,
    I can definitely appreciate needing some solid ground and I’m sorry if Compass is causing some issues for you. Our top priority is our riders’ safety and accessibility.
    The way the antenna is in Compass Tickets, a hole cannot be made without damaging the tech. If you think of there being an inside antenna border and a chip inside of that.
    Compass Cards are different, however, as they don’t have the antenna border but with the plastic, it would make it kind of tricky to make sure a hole wouldn’t interfere with the signal. Also, to make sure the card can be refunded at any point, it needs to remain unchanged.
    My best advice is to have your card on a lanyard or perhaps a retractable ID card reel attached to your belt loop or wherever works, hold on to the bus with one hand and be able to easily access and tap your card with the other.
    Please send your suggestions to Customer Relations – that way there is an official log of an issue or idea and can be forwarded to the right department.
    Thank you for reaching out and I hope that helps!

  • By Mary, October 4, 2016 @ 9:37 pm

    Where do you buy the plastic case you keep your Compass card in (and attach to your lanyard)?

  • By Adrienne Coling, October 7, 2016 @ 10:51 am

    Hi Mary – most office supplies stores have them for office ID badges. That’s what I use! :)

  • By Bernie Macht, April 13, 2017 @ 8:23 am

    You really need to build a phone app that allows us to tap using our phones. I don’t want my Compass in my wallet because that means I have to take my wallet out at a very risky time and place. I don’t want yet another thing to carry because I will leave it at home or in the car (contrary to your desire, my life does NOT centre around translink or my Compass). And I can no longer have it attached to the back of my phone because I now use payment systems with NFC on my phone. Please get with the times.

  • By Tim Crumley, May 26, 2017 @ 9:04 am

    Please add functionality the Compass Card: to use NFC on your phone (Apple Wallet and such). It’s much less likely that you’ll lose your phone than a plastic card that you can’t keep near your phone because it interferes with the tap. And one less thing I have to carry around, too.

  • By Robert Mogensen, August 23, 2017 @ 1:05 pm

    Why have you not implemented a NFC phone chip reader app yet? This seems like a no brainer, would save you money on the cards themselves and make life more convenient for your customers. Remember, your customers?

  • By Simon Maledy, September 23, 2017 @ 5:05 pm

    Really no NFC digital wallet app yet? With all the tech in Vancouver why is our implementation of the Compass system so backwards?

  • By tim w, October 3, 2017 @ 10:11 am

    Please implement NFC digital wallet app support, its 2017… also, people have been asking forever and you don’t reply to the requests…

  • By John, September 30, 2018 @ 5:58 pm

    Any chance you could change it from a card to a small keychain fob?

  • By Allen Tung, October 1, 2018 @ 9:51 am

    Hi John, we’re looking at the options, but I’m not aware of any small keychain fob on the horizon. I encourage you to leave feedback at Thanks!

  • By John, September 30, 2018 @ 6:01 pm

    Where in the card is the actual chip located? Can I cut this portion out to attach to my keys?

  • By Allen Tung, October 1, 2018 @ 9:43 am

    Hi John, it can damage the chip and antenna in your Compass Card and prevent it from working. If you come out to a community event we’re attending, we can provide you with a lanyard and a holder to keep your Compass Card in. Keep our eyes peeled on our social media channels to find out when the next community event we’ll be at.

  • By VanGrrl, November 1, 2018 @ 10:35 pm

    Just wai

  • By VanGrrl, November 1, 2018 @ 10:36 pm

    Just waiting on Compass and Translink to allow for NFC digital wallet reading of a phone app. This is a simple solution and will be much more secure than taking out a wallet in the middle of a crowd, line up etc.

    Thank you for your consideration!

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