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November 14, 2013

Chicago RTA prepaid MasterCard cuts costs

The Chicago Regional Transportation Authority is offering customers a prepaid Mastercard to purchase transit fares to reduce customer commuting costs and add greater flexibility.

The new RTA Transit Benefit Prepaid MasterCard can be loaded with pre-tax deductions from customers’ paychecks. By using pre-tax dollars, riders save as much as 40% off their commuting costs each year. The new contactless, reloadable prepaid card can be used to purchase transit fares on CTA, Pace, Metra, South Shore, Amtrak and Chicago Water Taxi.

The card features MasterCard contactless technology, which enables customers to tap and go at Ventra Readers to ride CTA and Pace. Customers can also use it to purchase fares at sales windows, ticket vending machines and online purchases.

Because the card is loaded with pre-tax funds, it can only be used for the purchase of transit fares at qualified transit agencies that accept Debit MasterCard.

The new RTA Transit Benefit MasterCard debuted in October. Besides the tax savings to employees, employers also receive tax deductions by offering transit benefits. On average, an employer can save up to 10% in reduced payroll tax savings.

Last year, the RTA sold $42 million in transit fare media, saving them more than $16 million in taxes and giving their employers $3.4 million in tax deductions.

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