Here’s why a sticker now tells you not to tap your wallet on TransLink


Transit users in Metro Vancouver may have noticed something a little different Friday as they tapped their Compass Card: A sticker asking customers to not tap their wallet, but rather the actual card.

It turns out TransLink is getting ready to make paying for transit at the point of access a lot easier–but that means customers need to make sure they aren’t experiencing unintended “card clash.”

translink tap wallet

“Card clash” is the name for what happens when multiple forms of accepted payment are being tapped at once, like if you have your Compass Card and tap-able credit card in your smartphone case or together in your wallet.

Later this spring, TransLink says customers will be able to pay their fare by several new methods, such as with a contactless Visa or Mastercard credit card or mobile wallet app.

These alternate payment methods are best for the casual user and for tourists, meaning there won’t be a need to pre-purchase a Compass Card and load it up prior to boarding.

“Giving people more payment options will greatly increase convenience, especially for people who aren’t regular riders. We plan to launch Tap to Pay this spring to ensure we provide this new convenience in time for tourism season,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

Existing users who have been used to tapping a wallet or similar item holding multiple cards have a few weeks to get used to tapping just their Compass Card; when the system soon will permit these other forms of payment, it will not necessarily choose customers’ Compass Card if there are other forms of payment next to it at the time of tap in.

Don’t be like this lady (TransLink/YouTube)

Of course, the incentive to have a Compass Card remains the reduced fare rate, and the ability to load up day-long and monthly passes.

TransLink will announce the launch date for the addition of alternate forms of tap-in payment soon.

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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome, and the co-host and co-producer of the Vancouver Is Awesome Podcast. A fifth generation Vancouverite and life-long foodie, Lindsay also serves as a judge for the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of, in her past life in L.A. she earned an MA in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: // Twitter/Instagram: @squashblossom