PRESTO card double charging and how to avoid it

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Metrolinx is warning PRESTO card users that they could be charged twice if they’re not careful.

GO Train and UP Express travelers have been able to use their credit cards to pay for their adult fare since mid-August. They have also been able to tap with their phones or smartwatches if their credit card information is loaded.

But the transit agency says transit users using this contactless payment method will be careful how they tap to avoid any “card collisions.”

“Card collisions occur when a customer accidentally presses more than one recognizable card on the payment device,” a Metrolinx spokesperson told CTV News Toronto via email.

“If a customer taps their entire wallet, the payment device may only recognize the card closest to the reader, and therefore it may not be the card the customer intended to pay with.”

This means that a customer who taps their wallet, thinking the machine will retrieve their PRESTO card first, may actually have their credit card charged instead.

“When this happens, the credit card expects the customer to tap their destination,” the spokesperson said. “This would prove to be an unanswered tap-off on our system.”


GO Transit and UP Express use a distance-based fare system, which means if you forget to tap off at the end of your trip, it will charge you the full fare for the last stop on the line or route.

“This is the same whether you tapped with your credit card or PRESTO card (unless you have a standard travel kit and have traveled that route),” Metrolinx said.

The transit agency also notes that riders cannot use a different payment method than the one they started with, even if their mobile wallet is connected to the same credit card used to tap.

“If you use another payment method to tap, it will be recognized as the start of a new journey.”

Metrolinx says it hasn’t heard of any reports or issues with the new contactless payment method since the program launched.

“With the expansion of payment methods across the GO network and select local transit agencies, it’s important that all riders — whether using a PRESTO card, credit card or mobile wallet — remember to tap off with the same card or method , which they used to press. on.”

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