Double charge PRESTO card and how to avoid it

Metrolinx warns 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 card to pay for their adult fare since mid-August. They have also been able to tap with their phone or smartwatch when their credit card information is loaded.

But the transit agency says transit users using this contactless payment method should be careful about how they tap to avoid “card collision.”

“Card collision occurs when a customer accidentally taps 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 and thinks the machine will be the first to pick up their PRESTO card can have their credit card charged instead.

“If this happens, the credit card expects the customer to knock at their destination,” the spokesperson said. “This would show up as a missed branch on our system.”


GO Transit and UP Express use a distance-based fare system, which means that if you forget to tick off your ticket at the end of your journey, you will be charged the full fare until the last stop on the line or route.

“This is the same whether you tapped with your credit card or PRESTO card (unless you set a default trip and went that route),” said Metrolinx.

The carrier also notes that passengers will not be able to tap with a payment method other than the one they started with, even if their mobile wallet is connected to the same credit card that was used to tap.

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

Metrolinx says they haven’t heard anything about notifications or issues with the new contactless payment method since the program launched.

“With the expansion of payment methods across the GO network and selected local carriers, it is important that all riders – whether using a PRESTO card, credit card or mobile wallet – remember to tap with the same card or method they were using to tap On.”

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