Good news, Bay Area! Apple Pay now works with Clipper cards.
That means you can now use an iPhone or Apple Watch to pay for BART. Or Muni. Or Caltrain. Or the ferry! Or (almost) any other transit-related thing you’d otherwise use the plastic Clipper card for.
Clipper has a page outlining the Apple Pay setup process right here.
A few quick but important things to note about iPhone and Apple Watch:
- Adding an existing Clipper card to an Apple Wallet apparently transfers the funds off that card. At that point, says Clipper, “your plastic card has been deactivated” — so it sounds like it won’t work as a physical backup card.
- Some people will want to hang on to the plastic cards, regardless: Clipper notes that Bay Area bike share users and anyone using an RTC Discount Card will need to keep the plastic card, even after it’s deactivated for transit use.
- Clipper has previously confirmed that support is coming for Google Pay (Android) “this spring,” but today’s rollout seems to support Apple Pay only.
As noted back in February when this was first confirmed as on the way, Clipper works with Apple’s “Express Transit” feature. That’s just a fancy way to say that you can tap to pay with the digital Clipper card without first needing to punch in your phone’s PIN or using FaceID. On certain newer iPhones, it also lets you keep using the Clipper card for a few hours after your battery has died; a wonderful thing in a pinch, but probably not something you want to rely on regularly.
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