Chicago Ventra Card

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lastgaspjr said:   New information just arrived.
The debit card will allow an ACH transfer to a personal bank account for a $2.00 fee.
It will allow a teller-assisted cash withdrawal (at banks that issue Mastercard cash advances) for $2.


Hey - that's great!!!!

However - notice that there is no mention anymore of adding funds with a Credit Card anywhere there....hmmmm...

it is also issued by Metabank which, IMO (and experience), is much more strict when it comes to cracking down on abuse. they have a low tolerance.

BenH said:   lastgaspjr said:   Yes, poor people get ripped off when they use prepaid debit cards. Unless they use the Blue Bird card or shop around wisely, which we know they are not apt to do. But will this aggressive advertising to get them to opt-in be any worse than, say, the Kim Kardashian card or the Green Dot cards?

You're right - the difference here is that this is being endorsed and pushed by the city. I don't expect the Kardashians to have the moral wherewithal to restrain from this.
I would *hope* that a governmental agency wouldn't behave in this way.

Again - this is Chicago - so I shouldn't expect much

Interestingly, "Kardashian" gave this thread a red.

Test

Still no mention of WHEN this card will be issued, beyond the vague "summer of 2013".

I would caution against putting any funds into a financial scheme created by the Chicago Transit Authority. The CTA is serious devoid at running its own operations as a public transit agency.

When I first heard about this, it's basically the very worst idea you'd create if you had serial funding issues because as a public transit system it costs you $9 to fund each fare, but you're only charging the passengers $2.25. Yes, it is public transit that is subsidized, but it has out of control labor costs that are unsustainable.

When it comes to putting money into Chicago, I won't even put my money into hotel rooms. Visitors finance the city. I grew up there and have no plans to place funds in their schemes.

axiom said:    Visitors *help* finance the city

Updated your quote. Visitors help, residents and businesses keep on paying for the privilege of living in a city that can't manage its finances, has crumbling infrastructure and petty alderman bosses. But at least we have one of the most profitable baseball teams, the Chicago Cubs.


Today's Tribune had another article about Ventra, which discusses the city's expected non-transit revenue from the card. CTA banking on extra Ventra Cash

There are fees galore.

Use this new card at an ATM, you'll pay $1.50 to the Ventra Card vultures and on top of that you'll pay another $2.50 to $3.50 ATM fee to the provider of the ATM dispensing the cash. So, you'll pay $4 to $5, all-in (some ATM provider fees may be plus or minus .50).

That's outrageous!! ATM fees should be going DOWN not up, given the increasing volume since the beginning of ATM's.

Why is CTA messing with this again??? It was just a few years ago they initiated the Chicago Card. If it's all about supplying a prepaid card feature, we already have that. What is CTA even doing jumping in bed with ANY debit card provider???? They're a TRANSIT agency.

So, reading between the lines: It's about the the Bank managing the Ventra card sticking their hand deeper in the pockets of the doltish sheeple in Chicago who continue to believe the Chicago politicians when they tell them it's raining as they tinkle down their backs. And ofcourse, the city sells the citizens out for a tiny piece of the pie. Parking Meter Deal redux.

Claypool has avoided outlining all the fees and the fare increase if riders don't use Ventra and the media sits there and let's him get away with it by asking soft follow-up questions (if any), as USUAL.

Why is the whole thing so complicated and non-transparent? Because they don't want you to easily see you are getting shorted,again.

Just supply a transit card that citizens can fill, online at currency exchange or at a grocery store -- the Chicago card.

Politicians should NOT be perfecting big banks getting bigger if they are looking out for you. As far as that goes they should be making big banks smaller.

The convience bit is so much brainwashing. Another card is not going to blow up your wallet. Better to lose one card then to lose an all-in-one card.
When are the majority of the people in this city going to WAKE UP??

lucianniac said:   There are fees galore.

Use this new card at an ATM, you'll pay $1.50 to the Ventra Card vultures and on top of that you'll pay another $2.50 to $3.50 ATM fee to the provider of the ATM dispensing the cash. So, you'll pay $4 to $5, all-in (some ATM provider fees may be plus or minus .50).

That's outrageous!! ATM fees should be going DOWN not up, given the increasing volume since the beginning of ATM's.

Why is CTA messing with this again??? It was just a few years ago they initiated the Chicago Card. If it's all about supplying a prepaid card feature, we already have that. What is CTA even doing jumping in bed with ANY debit card provider???? They're a TRANSIT agency.

So, reading between the lines: It's about the the Bank managing the Ventra card sticking their hand deeper in the pockets of the doltish sheeple in Chicago who continue to believe the Chicago politicians when they tell them it's raining as they tinkle down their backs. And ofcourse, the city sells the citizens out for a tiny piece of the pie. Parking Meter Deal redux.

Claypool has avoided outlining all the fees and the fare increase if riders don't use Ventra and the media sits there and let's him get away with it by asking soft follow-up questions (if any), as USUAL.

Why is the whole thing so complicated and non-transparent? Because they don't want you to easily see you are getting shorted,again.

Just supply a transit card that citizens can fill, online at currency exchange or at a grocery store -- the Chicago card.

Politicians should NOT be perfecting big banks getting bigger if they are looking out for you. As far as that goes they should be making big banks smaller.

The convience bit is so much brainwashing. Another card is not going to blow up your wallet. Better to lose one card the to lose an all-in-one card.
When are the majority of the people in this city going to WAKE UP??


You should CAPITALIZE more WORDS when you type THINGS out so that you SOUND more coherent in your thoughts.


These PRETZELS are MAKING me THIRSTY!

lucianniac said:   There are fees galore.

Use this new card at an ATM, you'll pay $1.50 to the Ventra Card vultures and on top of that you'll pay another $2.50 to $3.50 ATM fee to the provider of the ATM dispensing the cash. So, you'll pay $4 to $5, all-in (some ATM provider fees may be plus or minus .50).

That's outrageous!! ATM fees should be going DOWN not up, given the increasing volume since the beginning of ATM's.

Why is CTA messing with this again??? It was just a few years ago they initiated the Chicago Card. If it's all about supplying a prepaid card feature, we already have that. What is CTA even doing jumping in bed with ANY debit card provider???? They're a TRANSIT agency.

So, reading between the lines: It's about the the Bank managing the Ventra card sticking their hand deeper in the pockets of the doltish sheeple in Chicago who continue to believe the Chicago politicians when they tell them it's raining as they tinkle down their backs. And ofcourse, the city sells the citizens out for a tiny piece of the pie. Parking Meter Deal redux.

Claypool has avoided outlining all the fees and the fare increase if riders don't use Ventra and the media sits there and let's him get away with it by asking soft follow-up questions (if any), as USUAL.

Why is the whole thing so complicated and non-transparent? Because they don't want you to easily see you are getting shorted,again.

Just supply a transit card that citizens can fill, online at currency exchange or at a grocery store -- the Chicago card.

Politicians should NOT be perfecting big banks getting bigger if they are looking out for you. As far as that goes they should be making big banks smaller.

The convience bit is so much brainwashing. Another card is not going to blow up your wallet. Better to lose one card the to lose an all-in-one card.
When are the majority of the people in this city going to WAKE UP??


I think you're missing the point on this card, and the reason members here are interested in it. Sure, it's a ripoff for people to use as a banking alternative. So don't use it as a banking alternative.

FWIW - I lived in Chicago for 4 years and agree that the city sucks when it comes to public interest items (tolls, parking, etc.) This isn't really comparable though as it's 100% optional.

I think I get the point. The city is trying to get people in to a debit card a debut card with a provider of their typical no-bid or non-transparent bid choosing.

Consumers already have prepaid debit card choices.

The city has no business getting in to this?

It's convienient because it's one less card to carry? That's weak and doesn't justify the city bundling a debit card with what is essentially the Chicago Card. This is all about the city hooking-up First Data Co. (Ventra provider) with a huge potential revenue base.

From what I've read, this Ventra card will be totally phased in in 2014 and if you don't use new card with the opt-in/Opt-out debit card (which is the default status), you pay a higher fare. So I'm forced to used the Ventura dual CTA card or pay more. What if I lose it and somebody tries to use the debit feature? What if the bank messes up and says I used it when I didn't? What if there's any sort of problem and CTA says call Ventra & Ventra says call CTA? Ever been thru that kind if circle-jerk? Have you ever had a problem with an ATM card? I have and getting it right with the bank and the ATM owner is a NIGHTMARE.

Basically, it's not 100% optional when the whole payment platform migrates to this dual card & you have no options in the debit side provider.

Los Angeles area transit agencies have something similar to use on buses/trains: TAP-ReadyCard. I don't use public transit much, but when I do, I just use the TAP card without the debit card. It's only a $1 plus any reloads you add to it. The debit card version doesn't have any advantages for me, plus it's $4.95 a month. As far as churning it for points, you guys can figure that out.

AlBergette said:   I think I get the point. The city is trying to get people in to a debit card a debut card with a provider of their typical no-bid or non-transparent bid choosing.

Consumers already have prepaid debit card choices.

The city has no business getting in to this?

It's convienient because it's one less card to carry? That's weak and doesn't justify the city bundling a debit card with what is essentially the Chicago Card. This is all about the city hooking-up First Data Co. (Ventra provider) with a huge potential revenue base.

From what I've read, this Ventra card will be totally phased in in 2014 and if you don't use new card with the opt-in/Opt-out debit card (which is the default status), you pay a higher fare. So I'm forced to used the Ventura dual CTA card or pay more. What if I lose it and somebody tries to use the debit feature? What if the bank messes up and says I used it when I didn't? What if there's any sort of problem and CTA says call Ventra & Ventra says call CTA? Ever been thru that kind if circle-jerk? Have you ever had a problem with an ATM card? I have and getting it right with the bank and the ATM owner is a NIGHTMARE.

Basically, it's not 100% optional when the whole payment platform migrates to this dual card & you have no options in the debit side provider.


If you want to use the Ventra card exactly like you have been suing the Chicago Card, you can. I think the only additional fee is a dormancy fee, which is a non-issue for almost anyone who uses this card only for transit. You are not forced to use the optional debit features. You already pay higher fares if you do not use a Chicago Card or Transit Card.

And yes, you are missing the point of why this is being discussed on FWF. The value of the card to Chicago's unbanked and underbanked is a side discussion.

AlBergette said:   There are fees galore.

Use this new card at an ATM, you'll pay $1.50 to the Ventra Card vultures and on top of that you'll pay another $2.50 to $3.50 ATM fee to the provider of the ATM dispensing the cash. So, you'll pay $4 to $5, all-in (some ATM provider fees may be plus or minus .50).

There are no-fee ATM options near me for withdrawing funds. This may not be true everywhere, but it's been the case everywhere I've lived. Sometimes you need to seek them out a bit more.

ETA: Some people have asked, so I can say that in my experience (not all of it recent) Publix, Sheetz and Wawa have (or had at one time) surcharge-free ATMs. These brands may not help those in the Chicago area (or west coast), but I would think there's at least one supermarket or gas station chain in most areas that offers this.

mybuds last post above is completely correct and others (i.e. AlBergette) *are* missing the point.

While I won't argue the fact that the city shouldn't be getting into the debit card business, or the fact that the current Chicago Card is fine - that is really beside the point.

The points are:

1) You do not need to opt in for the debit card feature. In this case the Ventra card serves as a direct replacement for the Chicago Card - in effect it is just a transit card. No debit use, etc, and none of those fees mentioned. The only fee is a (refunded) activation fee and a dormancy fee after 18 months of non-use. Both of those fees should not impact a very large majority of the CTA riding population.

In other words - other than the hassle of upgrading cards, the new Ventra card on this front is really no better or worse than the current Chicago card.

2) The second point is that although the debit card fees are high, and the fact that using the debit card (or even having it) is probably bad for most of the populace (and again, the fact that the city shouldn't even be offering it) - is that for FWF the card may have churning abilities that greatly outweigh any of the fees.

Summary:
Standard CTA rider = no real change
Standard CTA rider who wants debit card = No real change for transit - bad move for a debit card.
Standard CTA rider (optional) and Saavy Card user = possibly $$$ benefits for debit card.

AlBergette said:    you have no options in the debit side provider.

This statement is also wrong. You will be able to register and use any contactless debit or credit card (e.g. a rewards credit card or prepaid debit card with a better fee structure) with the Ventra system. Source: http://www.ventrachicago.com/ventrafaq/

This card is not only useless, it is a rip off product IF you can't fund ( load) with a credit card.

sherap2 said:   This card is not only useless, it is a rip off product IF you can't fund ( load) with a credit card.
So what you're saying is it's a rip off unless you can rip it off?

Holy Cow

Everyone is salivating over this card but I'm going to wager that the max you can load on this card (with a CC) will be minuscule.
If you think you're going to be able to load $5000 to what equates to a bus pass with a visa/mastercard logo you're crazy.

The ineptness of Chicago may surprise you.

Hey, there's always hope.

KYBOSH said:   Everyone is salivating over this card but I'm going to wager that the max you can load on this card (with a CC) will be minuscule.
If you think you're going to be able to load $5000 to what equates to a bus pass with a visa/mastercard logo you're crazy.

KYBOSH said:   Everyone is salivating over this card but I'm going to wager that the max you can load on this card (with a CC) will be minuscule.
If you think you're going to be able to load $5000 to what equates to a bus pass with a visa/mastercard logo you're crazy.


Well you will notice that from my comment above regarding the current posted fee schedule they don't even state that it can be funded by a credit card at all.
Although CC funding was referenced earlier, this fee schedule makes it appear that won't be possible.

If it is possible, I wonder how/if they might differentiate loading via CC onto the "transit" aspect of the card, but disallowing CC funding onto the debit side.
As is, it doesn't appear that they will make a distinction between the two if opt-in for the debit.

I don't think they will place a limit on CC funding if they allow it - although at this point I'm unsure it will even be an option, and if it is - it may not be free.

as usual, i'll wait for the deal to die before jumping in with both feet. thanks Ben for the updates.

PROTIP: If you're going to rip off a payment service, don't pick one that is closely affiliated with a huge governmental entity.

BenH said:   KYBOSH said:   Everyone is salivating over this card but I'm going to wager that the max you can load on this card (with a CC) will be minuscule.
If you think you're going to be able to load $5000 to what equates to a bus pass with a visa/mastercard logo you're crazy.


Well you will notice that from my comment above regarding the current posted fee schedule they don't even state that it can be funded by a credit card at all.
Although CC funding was referenced earlier, this fee schedule makes it appear that won't be possible.

If it is possible, I wonder how/if they might differentiate loading via CC onto the "transit" aspect of the card, but disallowing CC funding onto the debit side.
As is, it doesn't appear that they will make a distinction between the two if opt-in for the debit.

I don't think they will place a limit on CC funding if they allow it - although at this point I'm unsure it will even be an option, and if it is - it may not be free.
They have been pretty clear that there will be two subaccounts maintained: One for transit and one for what they refer to as "retail." They have to do this in order to legally allow the tax-free employer transit benefits to be loaded onto the card.

Transit & Retail

The Ventra Card will have separate transit and retail accounts on one card. Those who choose not to or don't want to use their bank cards, or those who do not have a bank account, can use these new reloadable cards for transit or for any other retail purchase where debit cards are accepted. Cards will be able to be registered online for account management, and quickly accept fund transfers from a bank account to the account on the card. You can also add value for both accounts with cash.

Transit

You'll be able to add value for transit use at CTA stations and many retail locations around town.
Transit value and special fares can be loaded onto cards, using cash and credit cards, at vending machines and at many retail locations.


Retail

You can activate your optional Prepaid Debit Account online or over the phone.
You can then add value for regular purchases (retail use) online, over the phone or with cash at many retail locations that sell the Ventra Card. You can also transfer funds online directly from a bank account.
In addition to making purchases, you can load funds via direct deposit, make online bill payments and more with your Prepaid Debit Account.
Source.

But you are right about credit card funding. Both the CTA and the Ventra web sites have been scrubbed of any mention of funding the retail side via credit card. The people who complained about the oppressive nature of the credit card funding fee seem to have gotten their wish.

I can't fund my prepaid debit/bus pass with a credit card with no fees? This is an outrage! We need to get Jesse Jackson on this!

jewsus said:   I can't fund my prepaid debit/bus pass with a credit card with no fees? This is an outrage! We need to get Jesse Jackson on this!Just glad you didn't mention Jesse Jackson, Jr... legal troubles

This is directly from the CTA website: http://www.transitchicago.com/ventra/

Ventra Cards can be purchased at rail stations, more than 2,000 retail locations and they can be ordered online or by phone.
The cards have a $5 one-time fee which is immediately refunded as transit value upon registration. Customers have 90 days to register; registration takes less than two minutes.
You can load any amount of money onto the Ventra Card for no additional fees, either with cash or with credit/debit cards at CTA rail stations, retail locations.
You can also reload Ventra Cards via an online Ventra account.
Using Ventra Cards, you can either pay per ride (at no additional cost) or load unlimited-ride passes in 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day increments).

chadypu2 said:   I wonder if this would get 5% back on Citi Forward as a 'commuter expense'

People are getting harassed about what they are spending $500/day on at CeeVeeEss. Even if the load limits on this card allow thousands of dollars a month, I will look forward to reading posts about the phone calls that FWFers receive about why they are spending so much money on public transit fares... in a city that they don't even live in.

Crazytree said:   PROTIP: If you're going to rip off a payment service, don't pick one that is closely affiliated with a huge governmental entity.

PROTIP: When you have so many fantastic PROTIPs, consider cashing in by compiling them into one of those little books that you leave on the back of your toilet so your guests will pass the time by reading the book instead of snooping in your medicine cabinet.

orangecolt said:   This is directly from the CTA website: http://www.transitchicago.com/ventra/

Ventra Cards can be purchased at rail stations, more than 2,000 retail locations and they can be ordered online or by phone.
The cards have a $5 one-time fee which is immediately refunded as transit value upon registration. Customers have 90 days to register; registration takes less than two minutes.
You can load any amount of money onto the Ventra Card for no additional fees, either with cash or with credit/debit cards at CTA rail stations, retail locations.
You can also reload Ventra Cards via an online Ventra account.
Using Ventra Cards, you can either pay per ride (at no additional cost) or load unlimited-ride passes in 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day increments).
True it does say that. But it is in the section of page that explains how to use the card for transit. I would be willing to bet they are referring to the transit portion of the card, not the retail/debit portion of the card.

lastgaspjr said:   orangecolt said:   This is directly from the CTA website: http://www.transitchicago.com/ventra/

Ventra Cards can be purchased at rail stations, more than 2,000 retail locations and they can be ordered online or by phone.
The cards have a $5 one-time fee which is immediately refunded as transit value upon registration. Customers have 90 days to register; registration takes less than two minutes.
You can load any amount of money onto the Ventra Card for no additional fees, either with cash or with credit/debit cards at CTA rail stations, retail locations.
You can also reload Ventra Cards via an online Ventra account.
Using Ventra Cards, you can either pay per ride (at no additional cost) or load unlimited-ride passes in 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day increments).
True it does say that. But it is in the section of page that explains how to use the card for transit. I would be willing to bet they are referring to the transit portion of the card, not the retail/debit portion of the card.


It also says you can "add value for regular purchases (retail use) online, over the phone or with cash at many retail locations that sell the Ventra Card. You can also transfer funds online directly from a bank account." I think it is fair to interpret the "online, over the phone" language as credit card funding, since they separately mention that you can also fund from a bank account, but it may just be poor writing (another interpretation would be that you could do an ACH pull online or over the phone, or initiate an ACH push from a bank account, but I doubt that is what they meant).

We will have to wait and see, although I concede that assuming the card will have unlimited no-fee credit card funding is overly optimistic, and even if they launch with unlimited no-fee credit card funding, rampant abusive churning will result in a quick change to the fee structure.

Crazytree said:   PROTIP: If you're going to rip off a payment service, don't pick one that is closely affiliated with a huge governmental entity.
How would they be getting ripped off?

So I think this is a new development:

http://www.ventrachicago.com/ventrafaq/

Down at the bottom:

ventra said: Q: How do I add transit value, passes or prepaid debit funds at retail locations? A: Transit Account: You can add transit passes and value at all official Ventra Retail Locations. A full list of Ventra Retail Locations will be available closer to launch. Prepaid Debit Account: You can load Prepaid Debit funds at participating Money Network® Reload Network Agent Locations.

So it looks like they are using Money Network to do reloads.

I think we are getting colder and colder here...

They must read FWF.

Makes perfect sense for them.
They will never have to worry about CC fraud.
Cash (or a cash equivalent) is KING!

This card is dead to me. I was just hoping for another place to cash out GC's but four numbers have taken care of this.

Ventra E-mail said: THIS IS AN AUTOMATED E-MAIL; PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS. Starting this summer, the CTA and Pace will be transitioning to Ventra, a convenient new way to pay for train and bus rides. With Ventra, customers will be able to use a single fare card for transit throughout the Chicago region. In an effort to make your transition smooth, please confirm your contact information within THREE WEEKS of receiving this email. https://www.chicago-card.com/Ventra/AddressConfirmation.aspx?con... When you confirm your contact information, we will start the process of creating your new Ventra Card. You will receive an email from Ventra 7-10 days before your Card is shipped with instructions for activating your card and transferring your current Chicago Card Plus balance. We look forward to getting you on board with Ventra! The Chicago Card Plus team 1-888-YOUR-CTA

We will know soon enough what is possible....though I don't think there is any game here.

I read a LOT about this when it first was being introduced as I live a 15 minute walk from Chicago. I came to the conclusion that it was a totally FU system that I would NOT participate in. As a result of this & the G-d awful parking fees:

I no longer shop anywhere in the city
I no longer go to concerts or plays in the city
I no longer go to city restarants

I actually feel sorry for people who have no choice since they live and/or work in the city. I got OUT in 1973 and it has only gotten MUCH worse.

marvholly said:   I read a LOT about this when it first was being introduced as I live a 15 minute walk from Chicago. I came to the conclusion that it was a totally FU system that I would NOT participate in. As a result of this & the G-d awful parking fees:

I no longer shop anywhere in the city
I no longer go to concerts or plays in the city
I no longer go to city restarants

I actually feel sorry for people who have no choice since they live and/or work in the city. I got OUT in 1973 and it has only gotten MUCH worse.


I respect your views (and agree with some) - but they are totally irrelevant to the thread or this card. This card introduces basically a net zero change for frequent commuters.
By frequent commuters I mean anyone who rides at least once a year on Chicago transport.
The card costs the equivalent of a round trip to get, and that fee goes towards transit once you register.
The card is more convenient to use, and as a replacement for the Chicago Plus card, it has no additional charges and has more options to load and use.

The only FU part of this card is the pre-paid part of - which, when introduced was heavily fee laden and in the bottom 10% of pre-paid cards based on outside review.
Since inception, many fees have been changed or removed and last I looked the card was rated in the top 25% of pre-paid cards.

I still think the pre-paid option is dangerous for the mass of citizens who don't know how to carefully monitor fees - but opting in for the pre-paid is totally optional.

Final story - As a transit card replacement - as good as, or slightly better than old options. The only people it should negatively affect are those that don't want to purchase one and pay higher fares without it. Basically, this would be tourists or very occasional suburbanites. To them I say too bad - my taxes go towards supporting the CTA - you can pitch in a little more if you want to come and use it (again - anyone is free to purchase this card, you just need to use it yearly or there will be a small non usage fee).

As a pre-paid card - average to above average if you are in the market for one. I do disagree with the city partnering/subsidizing a pre-paid card that likely will be used by the under-classed and uninformed. OTOH, it is 100% optional - so you can't really have a beef that it just exists.

As of last analysis, it seems there is not going to be an easy way to churn on this pre-paid, therefore it is likely not worth opting in.



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