How-to: Ventra Vending Machines

Ventra vending machines are installed in every CTA ‘L’ station and a number of off-site locations.


What you can do at vending machines

You can perform the following tasks with a Ventra vending machine:

  • Buy new Ventra Cards
  • Buy new Ventra Tickets
  • Show information about transit value/passes in your account*
  • Show information about rides/passes available on a Ventra ticket
  • Load transit value to your transit account*
  • Load passes to your transit account*

*About Ventra transit accounts: Fare is stored in a Ventra transit account when you load either transit value or passes to Ventra Cards, contactless bankcards.

You can pay for Ventra Cards, tickets and the loading of transit value or passes with any of the following:
  • Cash ($1, $5, $10, and $20 bills; 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and $1 coins)—note machines cannot give change
  • Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover)
  • Debit cards

Special features

Language support
Ventra vending machines currently offer menus in the following languages:

  • English
  • Spanish/español
  • Polish/Polski

Accessibility features
Ventra vending machines are designed with accessibility in mind. Here are some of the features you’ll find at a machine:

  • Screen, button and cash/card orientation suitable for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices
  • An audio button that causes the machine to read what’s on the screen, aloud (pressing button will also adjust volume settings)
  • An audio jack to connect to earphones or listening devices
  • Braille and raised letters for tactile sensing of buttons, inputs and payment objects on the machine

Good to know

  • If you’re not sure what to do, most screens have a “Help” option that’ll explain, in more detail, what you’re looking at.
  • Machines can’t give change. However, if you want to load a pass but need to insert more cash than is necessary to pay, the extra money will be applied to your account as transit value for later use.
  • If you are loading a pass and there’s transit value in your account, you can apply the value toward the purchase of your pass—simply select “transit value” when prompted to insert cash or select another payment type. If you don’t have enough value to cover the whole cost, the machine will simply let you pay only the difference.
  • Even if you’ve set up autoload on the website, you can still use vending machines (it won’t disrupt your autoload settings).
  • If you walk up to a machine and it’s in the middle of a previous person’s transaction, press the Cancel button to get back to the home screen and start over. (If a transaction ahead of you on someone's account hasn't been completed, you'll see a yellow bar on top of the screen indicating that the machine is already working in an account.)
  • If certain features/services are unavailable at a given vending machine, it’ll be shown in the red marquee on top of the machine—this way, if a machine can’t accept bills, for example, you can see that before you make your way up to it.
  • If you’re visiting from another country and have a credit card issued by a foreign bank, you can probably enter “0” when prompted for a ZIP code to skip this step. (If your bank gave you a code to enter when prompted while in the United States, use that code instead.)