About Ventra Cards

Ventra Cards are hard plastic cards that you can use with Ventra.

Each card comes with its own transit account, in which you store transit value (for regular fares) and passes (such as a 1-Day, 3-Day or 7-Day unlimited ride pass).


Good to know

  • Registering your card gets you all kinds of benefits, including online account management and protection against loss or theft.
  • Your card is good for at least four years from when you get it. If you’re registered, we’ll send you a new one when it’s time to replace it.
  • Your card lets you pay for people who travel with you, even if you’re using a pass. Additional rides paid for when you’re riding always come out of your transit value balance.

Getting a Ventra Card

You can buy a Ventra Card from the following places:

New cards cost $5, but the purchase fee is waived when you order online and is refunded as transit value if you buy one in person and register within 90 days.

The fee is waived if you order online or by phone (though a minimum value load or pass purchase is required) since you’re automatically registered.

Register your Ventra Card

Registration lets you manage your account online, in the app or via automated phone system. It also makes it possible for us to provide you with better customer support, account notifications and to send you a free replacement when your card expires.

Additionally, registration protects remaining balance in the event you lose your card.

Note: If you ordered your card online, you card is already registered—when it arrives, you only need to activate it.

Tips for using your Ventra Card

Take your card out when you use it: Since Ventra can also accept other cards for payment, take your Ventra Card out of your wallet to avoid “card clash” and to be sure your Ventra Card is the one that’s used to cover your fare.

Touch your card directly to the reader: Touch your card flat against the yellow target on buses and at train stations for a reliable read, every time. You can remove your card once you hear the first beep.

Set up autoload for worry-free riding: Autoload is available for both transit value and for several passes—you can enable autoload for a CTA or CTA/Pace 7-Day Pass, CTA/Pace 30-Day Pass and other passes, in addition to autoload for transit value balance.

You can pay for others traveling with you: You can pay for up to six other people traveling with you with your Ventra Card—they can join you at any point along the way and Ventra will figure out their fares, automatically. Note that additional riders are always covered as individual fares and cannot be covered by a pass—whether you’ve loaded passes or value at a machine, make sure you’ve got enough transit value to cover those additional riders.

Avoid "card clash": Whenever you pay, take out and touch only your desired payment method (card, ticket, mobile device, etc.) to the Ventra fare reader.

Ventra can accept payments from many different card/payment types. Taking your card out makes sure that the payment method you intended to use covers every part of your trip.

(Tip: Never attach any cards that might be used for payment to your phone to then touch your phone when you board, such as bankcards with the contactless wave symbol, or Ventra Cards or Tickets from a vending machine. Many phones have features that let you pay using the phone’s built-in wallet/Pay app.)