Chicago News

CTA: Ventra system may charge other credit cards

Monday, September 23, 2013

More and more people are switching over to the Ventra card to ride the CTA. Over 3 million taps have been recorded, but one customer has some words of advice for avoiding an extra charge.

Days before Lonnette Alexander started using the Ventra card to ride the CTA, a Ventra charge for a single fare of $2.25 appeared on her credit card statement.

She had the mysterious charge reversed, and later figured out it happened when she was on a crowded bus. Her backpack was hovering over a Ventra machine and inside her bag was the credit card with contactless technology.

"If it charges someone's card from them standing there, I think that's a problem," said Lonnette Alexander, CTA rider.

Unlike the current system, which is being phased out, Ventra is an open system where rides can be paid for either with Ventra cards or credit cards with contactless technology. The CTA says cards still need to come in contact with the card reader, and instances of machines reading more than one card you may have in your purse or wallet is rare.

"We encourage people to not lean against the card readers or stand hovering above the card readers because this is an open system and it will be able to detect any forms of contactless payment," said Lambrini Lukidis, CTA spokesperson.

Alexander has a Ventra card now, but she says she is going to take extra precautions to make sure her credit cards don't come in contact with the Ventra card reader.

"I would assume it's going to be efficient at some point, but my biggest concern is that they're charging my credit card without me swiping it," said Alexander.

A reminder from the CTA: You will no longer be able to reload Chicago Cards or buy new magnetic stripe cards starting October 7. Customers can continue to use those they already have- and the money that is on them- through November 15.

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