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Translink Buzzer Blog

Tap your card, not your wallet

Today, TransLink launched a campaign across our system to educate our customers on an important behaviour – they should tap their Compass Card, not their wallet or a phone case with multiple cards inside!

The campaign sets the stage for the introduction of new convenient, payment options coming later this spring. Customers will soon be able to tap a contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card or mobile wallet on our card readers to pay their fare – “Tap to Pay!”

No wallet-tapping!

We’re reminding customers to tap only the card they wish to use to pay their fare. After the new technology is launched, tapping a wallet, phone case, backpack or purse – any item that holds multiple cards – could result in the unintended card being charged. Don’t be a “wallet-tapper” – change your behaviour and let your friends and family know, too.

Next steps

The launch of this new technology is still a few months away. In the meantime, we’re excited about the difference this will make for our customers, especially tourists and other infrequent riders. “Tap to Pay” means no more ticket line-ups, digging for change, or worrying about fare zones.


  • By Ben Kennedy, March 9, 2018 @ 10:50 am

    Please tell me that I’ll soon be able to load my Compass card into the “Wallet” app on my iPhone, and use it instead! That would be wonderful.

  • By Joe, A 12 for Transit, March 9, 2018 @ 11:00 am

    I just got a few months ago a yanyard from Amazon to use. When around Sound Transit/Seattle area I have that card in my yanyard. When I head up to TransLink, I simply replace the ORCA Card with the Compass Card. Seems to work wonders – no more lost cards, no more cards falling under the bus (that DID happen at Lynnwood!), that kind of thing!

  • By Anonymous, March 21, 2018 @ 9:30 am

    It’s a Lanyard, not a Yanyard.

  • By Matt a, March 9, 2018 @ 11:30 am

    You know this will lead to crowds of people at fare gates and bus doors fumbling with pulling cards out of wallets and phone cases, and dropping them, etc? That already happens, especially when the tap doesn’t work the first time

  • By Ben Kennedy, March 9, 2018 @ 12:12 pm

    Matt: My current practice is to transfer my Compass card from my wallet into my front pants pocket when I am about to embark on a transit session, and then replace it once I’m done. Works pretty well.

    (Frankly, even if Compass were supported on iPhone, I imagine this still might end up being easier than having to select a non-default card on the Apple Pay screen…)

  • By Taylor (Buzzer), March 17, 2018 @ 4:29 pm

    This launch sounds really half baked. I don’t think this was thought through thoroughly; at least, not by the right people.

    At its most basic level, this new scheme seems to inconvenience those who use the service most, for a (potential) benefit to those who use it least.

    Translink is currently running a campaign to shame and bully people into changing their “behaviour” just so that this technology will not backfire when rolled out. Perrrrfect…

    About the target group for the supposed new benefits, I think they would mostly prefer to continue using the vending machines instead. Picture being a tourist for a moment. Do you want to blindly swipe your credit card at some gate and then find out later how much you just paid to do so? Doubt it!

    I expect most infrequent riders would rather see the cost then pay, like they do now. THIS IS HOW BUYING THINGS WORKS. This really isn’t “Tap to Pay!” as advertised. Nobody pays on the way into the grocery store.

  • By Anonymous, March 29, 2018 @ 12:23 pm

    How does tapping a credit card determine whether or not a customer is a Senior?

  • By Allen Tung, April 3, 2018 @ 3:41 pm

    Hi there, when you tap a contactless credit card or mobile wallet, it will charge an adult, cash fare. To take advantage of concession fares and Stored Value rates, you’ll need a Compass Card.

  • By Jordan, April 9, 2018 @ 6:22 pm

    Who’s asking for this feature? It looks like a make-work project.

    If you are going to do this, I need to be able to blacklist my credit card from being accidentally charged.

    People will be piled up at gates waiting for someone in front to search their wallet for their compass card.

    I can access my wallet while carrying baggage. I can’t open it to grab a card.

    You could at least provide a keychain fob as an alternative to a card which complies to the dimensional specifications of fitting in a wallet. It’s probably designed to fit into a wallet so nobody forgets it at home. You’re not going to convince anyone that a compass card doesn’t belongs in a wallet.

    Please don’t roll out another half-baked ‘service’. The compass gates have enough defects as-is.

  • By Robert, April 16, 2018 @ 1:42 pm

    How do you verify you paid by credit card if transit police asks for verification?

  • By Allen Tung, April 16, 2018 @ 1:46 pm

    Hi Robert, Transit Police and Transit Security can use a Hand-Held Unit (HHU) to detect if a credit card or mobile device is an accepted form of payment and has been tapped into the system.

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