Charlie: Card & Ticket Info

Charlie Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


 Click here for CharlieCard Expiration FAQ

How do I get a CharlieCard?

You can get a CharlieCard several ways:

  • From MBTA Customer Service Agents in the following stations during the following times:
  Monday-Friday Saturday Sunday
Alewife 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
Arlington 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Ashmont 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
Back Bay 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
Dudley Square 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Forest Hills 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Harvard Square 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
Haymarket 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Kenmore 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
Maverick 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
North Station 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Oak Grove 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Park Street 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
South Station 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Wonderland 7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.     
  • At the CharlieCard Store, located adjacent to the Red and Orange Lines at Downtown Crossing Station, the store is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please note: the accessible entrance is located at 32 Summer Street via the 101 Arch Street building in Boston.
  • At many retail locations: We partner with many local retailers to sell our CharlieCards, CharlieTickets, and passes. You can obtain a CharlieCard from one of these retailers: Sales Locations.Once you have your CharlieCard, you can load value or a pass on to it at any of these retailers.
  • Order your CharlieCard online: Buy Now!

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What is "stored value"?

Instead of paying each time you use the T, you can "store value" (put cash) on your CharlieTickets and CharlieCards. Your fare will be deducted each time you ride the T, allowing you to pay as you go on the subway and bus. For example, a $20 stored-value card or ticket is good for $20 worth of travel. Remember: stored-value payments may incur a surcharge when purchased on a CharlieTicket. No surcharge is incurred when using a CharlieCard.

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Will I be able to add stored value to my CharlieCard at an on-board farebox?

Yes. However, storing value on your CharlieCard onboard can increase boarding lines and cause transit delays. We encourage customers to add stored value at our full-service, in-station fare vending machines. You can also obtain a CharlieCard from one of these retailers: Sales Locations. Customers loading stored value onboard other regional transit authorities' buses should also note that their stored value will become available 24-48 hours after purchase.

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How can I check the balance on my CharlieCard?

CharlieCard balances can be checked at any Fare Vending Machine. The ability to check balances online will be available in the future.

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Can I receive cash back for the remaining balance on my CharlieCard?

No. CharlieCard value may not be redeemed for cash, check, or credit.

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Can I transfer stored value from my CharlieTicket to a new CharlieCard? If so, how?

Yes. You can transfer the stored value on a CharlieTicket to a CharlieCard at the CharlieCard Store in downtown Boston. Adjacent to the Red and Orange Lines at Downtown Crossing Station, the CharlieCard Store is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

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Can I add more value to my CharlieCard online?

Yes. You can reload your CharlieCard online or register your CharlieCard with a MyCharlie Account and sign up for our recurring monthly pass option.

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What is the one-time payment option?

Your monthly pass purchase and/or stored-value purchase will be loaded to your CharlieCard and charged to your credit card one time.

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When I add value to my CharlieCard online, does it automatically register on my CharlieCard?

No. To update your CharlieCard with your latest online purchase(s), you must tap your CharlieCard at a Fare Vending Machine, a subway Fare Gate, or at a standing or handheld Green Line Ticket Validator. You can also update it at the CharlieCard Store, or any retail location that sells CharlieCards.

Online purchases entered on or before midnight will be available for uploading to your CharlieCard after 5:00 a.m. the next day.

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If I purchase stored value for my CharlieCard, when will the purchase be available on my CharlieCard?

Purchases will be available by tapping your card at any fare vending machine or gate after 5:00 a.m. the day after purchase. Customers loading stored value onboard other regional transit authorties' buses should also note that their stored value will become available 24-48 hours after purchase.

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What is a MyCharlie Account?

A MyCharlie Account offers customers added convenience and security. By setting up a MyCharlie Account online and registering your CharlieCard, you can set up automatic (or recurring) monthly pass purchases and (coming soon) automatic stored-value purchases. You’ll automatically receive free "No Worries Protection" from loss, theft, or damage to your card.

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What is MyCharlie Account registration?

When you sign up for a MyCharlie Account, you’ll enter the number on the front of your CharlieCard. By registering your card, you’ll become eligible for "No Worries Protection" from loss, theft, or card damage and for automatic purchases of monthly passes charged to your credit card.
You may choose not to sign up for a MyCharlie Account. Unregistered CharlieCards remain anonymous and are available to any customer without providing any personal information to the T. Unregistered CharlieCards are not replaceable and are not protected against loss, theft, or damage.

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How do I register for a MyCharlie Account?

Visit MBTA.com and click on the link for "MyCharlie Account Center" under Fares & Passes.

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What are automatic purchases of passes and stored value?

If you register your CharlieCard with a MyCharlie Account, you can sign up for automatic recurring purchases. For example, if you want to buy a Bus Pass each month, you can set up your MyCharlie Account using a credit card to automatically reload your CharlieCard with a new Bus Pass each month. You'll be ready to ride anytime. Automatic reloading of stored value will be available soon.

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What is the recurring program?

Customers who choose to register their CharlieCard with a MyCharlie Account can sign up for automatic recurring purchases. Your credit card will be automatically charged for your recurring pass purchase five days prior to the end of the month. The monthly pass on your CharlieCard will be automatically reloaded every month until you cancel the recurring program.

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What should I do if my credit card was rejected on my recurring pass purchase?

We will make one attempt to charge your credit card five days prior to the end of the month for your recurring monthly pass purchase. If your credit card is rejected, you have the option to use another credit card online, or purchase your pass or stored value at any Fare Vending Machine, retail location or MBTA pass sales office.

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What if my CharlieCard is lost, stolen, or damaged?

If you are a MyCharlie Account member, your balance is protected. You can report your CharlieCard as lost/stolen or damaged by calling 1-888-844-0355. Your CharlieCard will be blocked from further use and the pass or stored value remaining at the time of your call will be transferred onto a new CharlieCard and mailed to you. Customers are responsible for their own fare media until the replacement is received.
If your CharlieCard is not registered to a MyCharlie Account, we cannot replace it if it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. We recommend you treat your unregistered CharlieCard like cash.

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Can I report a CharlieCard as lost/stolen for a friend?

No. Only the registered account user can report a CharlieCard as lost or stolen.

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If I lose my registered CharlieCard, how long do I have to wait for a replacement?

Lost, stolen or damaged CharlieCard replacements are processed and mailed within 48 hours. Replacements are sent via US mail, and you should receive your new CharlieCard within 3-5 business days. You may choose an expedited shipping method and you will be charged the additional costs incurred.

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Can I register a CharlieTicket?

No. CharlieTickets cannot be registered.

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If I am out-of-town for an extended time, can I remove the recurring program on my CharlieCard?

Yes. If you wish to keep your account but don’t want the recurring transactions to be processed while you’re away, you can remove the recurring program from your CharlieCard. Go to your online MyCharlie Account and click the section for setting up automatic monthly purchases of Bus and Link passes. Remove the check mark from the "recurring" option box. Upon your return, you can re-enter the check mark to reinstate the recurring option on your CharlieCard.
CharlieCards must be removed before the recurring charge takes place (five days prior to the end of the month) to ensure that the recurring purchase does not automatically get charged to your credit card.

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I am concerned about privacy. Will I have to give personal information to the MBTA to use the CharlieCard?

No, not unless you choose to. The MBTA considers the privacy of our customers’ personal information a top priority. Please read our Privacy Policy for more information.
You have the option to have a registered or an unregistered CharlieCard. Your unregistered CharlieCard gives you access to the card’s many benefits without providing any personal information to the MBTA.
If you register your CharlieCard, you can take advantage of additional features such as automatic purchases of passes and stored value and our "No Worries Protection," which guarantees the replacement of a lost, stolen, or damaged card. You can register your CharlieCard by setting up a MyCharlie Account online.
CharlieTickets are anonymous and not replaceable if lost or stolen.

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Can I remove a CharlieCard from my MyCharlie Account?

Yes. CharlieCards can be removed from your account by selecting the Add/Remove CharlieCards option in your MyCharlie Account. Once removed, no automatic pass purchases will be fulfilled on that CharlieCard.

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Can I close my "MyCharlie Account" if I decide I do not want my card registered?

Yes. You can close your MyCharlie Account anytime by selecting the Close your existing MyCharlie Account option. Any CharlieCards that have automatic purchases associated with them will no longer be automatically reloaded and will be treated as anonymous CharlieCards and cannot be replaced if lost, stolen, or damaged.

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I am locked out of my accountwhat should I do?

Passwords can be reset online. If you need help please contact CharlieCard Customer Service at 1-888-844-0355 for assistance.

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Will CharlieCard passes be available through my employer?

Both CharlieCards and CharlieTickets are distributed through the Corporate Pass Program. Some passes are only available on CharlieTickets -- specifically, those which need to be displayed for visual inspection on board. Passes issued on CharlieCards will be automatically updated each month and don’t need to be replaced until the card expires.

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How will bus-to-subway transfers work on a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket?

Bus and Subway transfers are discounted when you use the CharlieCard. With a CharlieTicket, the full fare, plus the surcharge will be deducted from the stored-value on your CharlieTicket when you board the bus or subway.

With a CharlieCard, simply board the first vehicle of your trip and the corresponding fare is deducted. When you transfer, the faregate or farebox will automatically recognize you as a transferring customer and deduct the additional transfer fee, if any. When transferring from a lower-priced service to a higher-priced service, like Local Bus-to-Subway, the price of your transfer is simply the difference between the two fares (50 cents). When transferring from a higher-priced service to a lower-priced service, like Subway-to-Local Bus, there is no cost to transfer. Transfer discounts are available to customers using CharlieTickets or paying cash-on-board ONLY on SL4 and SL5.

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How will bus-to-bus transfers work on a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket?

Local Bus-to-Local Bus transfers are free when you use a CharlieCard or a CharlieTicket. When you board the first bus of your trip, the corresponding fare will be deducted. Then, when you use your CharlieCard or the same CharlieTicket at the next bus farebox, the system recognizes you as a transfer and will not deduct any value from your CharlieCard or ticket. If you don't use a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket, and choose to pay the exact fare ($2) with cash, you will not receive a free transfer.

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Can I punch a hole in my CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to carry it on my keychain?

You should never punch a hole in your CharlieCard or CharlieTicket.

CharlieCards contain a computer chip that can be damaged and cause the CharlieCard to perform improperly.

In addition, you should not punch holes in your CharlieTicket—the ticket must be fully inserted into the fare gates and fareboxes and cannot be attached to a key ring. Additionally, a CharlieTicket loaded with a T-Pass may not perform properly when hole-punched.

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I am a reduced fare customer - how will Charlie affect me?

Senior/TAP IDs are available to seniors (age 65+) and persons with disabilities at the MBTA's Office for Transportation Access at the CharlieCard Store in downtown Boston. Adjacent to the Red and Orange Lines at Downtown Crossing Station, the CharlieCard Store is open Monday through Friday, 8:30a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

First time applicants for the Senior/TAP ID or applicants with expired TAP ID cards may pick up a TAP application at the CharlieCard Store location and new IDs will then be issued there.

Use your new Senior/TAP ID to purchase a monthly pass at reduced fare pass sales outlets or at any full-service, in-station fare vending machine, then tap or touch it to the black card target at the accessible fare gates.

Learn more about the differences between the CharlieCard and CharlieTicket, how to use CharlieCards and CharlieTicketshow to use fare vending machines to buy and store value on your CharlieCard or CharlieTicket or download the Senior/TAP User Guide.

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Can I register a Senior ID or TAP ID with a MyCharlie Account?

Senior and TAP customers are already registered to our system and do not need to register online with a MyCharlie Account. However, you may create a MyCharlie Account if you would like the added convenience of having a recurring pass added to your card.

In order to register your Senior ID or TAP ID, you must enter your Profile Information exactly as it was entered into our system when your received your ID. If you have questions, please call 888-844-0355 and customer support will assist you with your account.

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What are the hours of the CharlieCard Customer Service Center?

The Customer Service Center can be reached at 1-888-844-0355 during these hours:

Monday - Friday: 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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I have a question that is not listed here--what should I do?

If you have a question regarding online registration or online orders, please call 1-888-844-0355 or e-mail charliecardonline@mbta.com. For any other inquiries, please call MBTA Customer Support at 617-222-3200.

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  • Reduced Fares for Senior/T.A.P. Customers
  • Buy a Pass at a Fare Vending Machine
  • Charlie's Frequently Asked Questions
  • Get the Card

Got MyCharlie?

Upgrade your CharlieCard with a MyCharlie account and you'll be able to set up automatic monthly pass or stored-value purchases, and breathe easy knowing your card is protected from damage, loss or theft.