Since multiple people have asked, here’s the quick-n-easy “getting started with Clipper” for Berkeley folks. (Total online time: 5 minutes)
- Get a Clipper card at any Walgreens; you have to put a minimum of $5 on it. You can add value at any Walgreens and any BART ticket machine.
- Register the card at clippercard.com.
Why: Though not necessary to get the Berkeley benefits, this lets you add value online from a credit card or bank account, setup “autoload” (card reloads itself if balance falls below threshold), and protects your balance if your card is lost or stolen.
- Register yourself at wageworks.com, which manages UCB’s transit benefits program. You’ll need your SSN and possibly your UCB employee ID number.
Why: so you can get $10 of free money on your Clipper card every month, and put additional pre-tax money on it.
- Once you’re registered at WageWorks and logged in:
- click on the Commuter tab
- click Place Commuter Order
- select Public Transportation (not Parking or Vanpool)
- select “Clipper“ as your transit vendor
- select “E-cash” as the product
- Enter the serial # of your Clipper card and select an amount to be loaded onto the card each month. (You can change the order month to month, or leave it standing.)
- The first $10 per month is free money (doesn’t affect your paycheck)
- The next $230 per month is deducted from your pre-tax income on your paycheck
- Anything beyond that is deducted from your post-tax income
- $2 of your total monthly transfer amount is taken as a service fee, so if you sign up for just the $10 “free money” option, you really only get $8/month
That’s it. I recommend setting the pay-with-pretax option based on your estimated usage, and using Autoload on the Clipper site as a backup with a threshold of $20.
Advanced version, to avoid paying $2/month service fee
If you’re OK leaving $24 of free money on the table per year to avoid some hassle, then just use the procedure above. If you’re cheap or resent that $2 service fee, here is an alternative.
In step 4.5 above, instead of selecting E-cash, select WageWorks Commuter Card. This will cause your full monthly transfer amount (ie no $2 fee deducted) to be put onto a debit MasterCard that WageWorks will send you, instead of onto Clipper.
You can use this debit MasterCard to:
- add value to your Clipper at BART machines and Muni machines
- add value to Clipper online, including via autoload
The downside is that you have to keep track of two balances—Clipper and debit card. Especially if you have Autoload setup, if your debit card balance is too low to satisfy Autoload, Autoload fails, etc. As well, you have to arrange to load your Clipper card as needed.
It would be great if there was a “pay-as-you-go deduction” option for funding Clipper, but so far there isn’t.