Using ORCA with Google Pay FAQs

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Using an ORCA Card with Google Pay

What is Google Pay and how does it work with the ORCA Card?

Google Pay™ is a fast, simple way to make contactless payments. You can tap to ride with Google Pay by adding your ORCA card to Google Wallet. Google Wallet is an app for Android devices that gives you fast, secure access to your everyday essentials. You can visit Google’s support site for transit passes in Google Wallet to learn more. 

Once you have set up Google Wallet, you can add an ORCA card to your Google Wallet to pay for transit in the Puget Sound region. Make sure your Google Wallet app is updated to the current version so you are able to add or transfer a card. Simply transfer your plastic ORCA card to a digital card or purchase a new digital Adult ORCA card, all in Google Wallet. Tap to ride using Google Pay on your Android device on ORCA card readers on trains, buses, and ferries to pay for your trip

How do I add my existing plastic ORCA card to Google Wallet?

Read our support article about how to add an existing plastic card to Google Wallet here.

HELPFUL TIP: Customers that purchase an ORCA card themselves can add it to Google Wallet. If you received your card from a business, school, institution, or a Transit Agency promotion, you may not be able to add your card to Google Wallet.  In this case, you will need to be given permission by the organization you received the card from to add it. When Google Wallet is launched, organizations that issue ORCA cards will decide if and when their organizations are ready to allow their cardholders to convert their cards to Google Wallet. Over time, ORCA will continue to work with organizations to roll out this new capability successfully. Your organization will reach out to you when Google Wallet is available for their ORCA cards.

HELPFUL TIP: When you transfer an existing ORCA card to Google Wallet, your E-purse balance and passes will automatically transfer and become a new digital card in Google Wallet. Your new Google Wallet card will have a different card number assigned after conversion. When you do this, your plastic card will be deactivated and will no longer work. If you had an autoload set up on your plastic card, it will transfer over to the new, digital card. You will continue managing your autoload on myORCA.com or via the myORCA app. 

How can I buy a new ORCA card in Google Wallet?

Visit our support website to see instructions for adding a new ORCA card to Google Wallet on your Android device. When you add a new ORCA card to Google Wallet, you can add E-purse and passes to the card instantly. 

HELPFUL TIP: If you are getting a reduced or free fare card for the first time (RRFP, ORCA LIFT, Youth), you need to get a plastic card from a location that offers new reduced fare cards first. 

HELPFUL TIP: We strongly recommend registering your new ORCA card to an account with the myORCA app. Registering your new digital ORCA card will help ORCA customer service provide you support in the event you lose access to your phone or Google account. This will also give you access to more account management, notification, and security features.

Can I transfer the ORCA card in my Google Wallet to another device?

Yes, customers can transfer the ORCA card in their Google Wallet to another Android device that uses the same Google account. For phones, you need Android 7 (Nougat) or higher, and an NFC chip. For wearables, a functional running WearOS device (not Fitbit OS, etc.).

HELPFUL TIP: For security purposes, this can only be done a limited number of times. You should only move your card to a new device in the event you plan to use the new device as your primary Google Wallet payment device in the future.

Can I transfer the ORCA card in my Google Wallet to someone else?

No. ORCA cards in Google Wallet can only be transferred to a different device that is logged into the same Google account as the previous device.

Can I add more than one ORCA card to my Google Wallet?

No, each Google Wallet account can have only one ORCA card. Google Wallet accounts can store multiple cards, but only one card can be Active to pay for transit at one time. To add a subsequent card to your Wallet, you must deactivate your current Active card. The Wallet system allows users to easily switch the "Active" status between their various stored Virtual ORCA cards. However, please note, if you are traveling with multiple riders, it is easiest if each user has their own physical ORCA card or Wallet set up.

Can I keep using my plastic card after I add it to my Google Wallet?

It depends. Your plastic card will be deactivated and any E-purse, passes and autoloads on the card will be moved to the new ORCA card number in your Google Wallet automatically. 

RRFP cards (Senior and Disabled) can be shown to board transit across the State of Washington and should be retained if you plan to ride transit on Agencies outside the ORCA system. Other card types such as Student IDs and Employee IDs that can be tapped to pay with ORCA should also be retained for other uses.

Can I switch back to a plastic card after I add it to my Google Wallet?

Yes, if you wish to switch back to a plastic ORCA card from Google Wallet, you can contact customer service and a new plastic card can be issued to you for $3.

Can I add an ORCA card that I got from my employer, school, or institution to my Google Wallet?

It depends. When Google Wallet is launched, organizations that issue ORCA cards will decide if and when their organizations are ready to allow their card holders to convert their cards to Google Wallet. Over time, ORCA will continue to work with organizations to roll out this new capability successfully. Your organization will reach out to you when Google Wallet is available for their ORCA cards.

What is the difference between Google Wallet and the myORCA app and how do they work together?

Google Wallet is an app for Android users where they can store an active ORCA card that can be used to pay for transit services with Google Pay by tapping their Android device on a card reader.

The myORCA app is a separate account management app for ORCA cards that allows you to manage multiple cards, set up autoloads and account preferences, and more.

HELPFUL TIP: You must have the Google Wallet app with an ORCA card loaded in the Wallet to use your phone to tap on transit. The myORCA app does not work to tap to pay, the myORCA app is only used to manage your ORCA cards and account.

HELPFUL TIP: We highly recommend that you download the myORCA app on your phone and make sure to register the ORCA card in your Google Wallet. This will ensure ORCA customer support can help you in the event you lose access to your phone or Google account. The myORCA app also provides additional account management, notifications, and security options to ORCA card customers. 

Paying for transit with ORCA and Google Pay

How do I use Google Pay to pay for transit with a digital ORCA Card?

When entering a station or boarding, simply wake up or unlock your device’s screen and tap it on the ORCA card reader. This works on all participating public transit agencies and all modes, including trains, buses, ferries and participating micro transit services such as Via and Zip.

You can set up your phone to allow for taps to occur by just waking up your phone screen, without needing to unlock your phone every time. You can see how to do this here.  If you add your ORCA card to a WearOS device, it always need to be unlocked to tap. 

Can I use Google Pay to pay for more than one person using an ORCA card in my Google Wallet?

No, each customer needs to have their own ORCA card to pay for a trip. 

What happens if my phone battery dies, or I lose my phone while I’m traveling?

Be sure to keep your phone charged while you are traveling. You cannot tap to pay for transit when your Android device’s battery is dead. If you are unable to pay with your phone, you must use an alternative payment method such as a backup plastic ORCA card, ticket or cash in the form of exact change.

We recommend creating an account on the myORCA app and registering your card to your account. If you lose access to your phone or Google account, you can recover the ORCA card in your Google Wallet if it was registered to your myORCA account.

Can I use a digital credit card in my Google Wallet to pay for transit? 

No. You must have a digital ORCA card loaded in your Google Wallet or use a plastic ORCA card. We do not accept credit card taps on ORCA card readers. You can store a credit card as a payment method and use it to load funds to your ORCA card within Google Wallet, on myORCA.com, or within the myORCA app. You can also use credit cards as a payment source at ticket vending machines, ORCA retail partners, and customer service locations.

Can I use a plastic credit card to pay for transit?

No, you must have a digital ORCA card loaded in your Google Wallet or use a plastic ORCA card. We do not currently accept credit card taps on ORCA card readers. You can use a credit card to load funds to your ORCA card using the Google Wallet app (with a separate credit card stored in your wallet), myORCA.com, the myORCA app, at ticket vending machines, retail locations and customer service locations.

Reloading your ORCA card in Google Wallet

How do I reload my ORCA card in Google Wallet? 

You can reload the ORCA card you have in Google Wallet with money and passes within the wallet app. You can also reload your digital card at ticket vending machines, on the myORCA app, at myORCA.com and at customer service locations

HELPFUL TIP: You can reload an ORCA card in your Google Wallet at retail locations where the card number is manually entered by the retail associate. 

Can I transfer the balance from the ORCA card in my Google Wallet to another digital card?

Yes, the best way to do this is to create an account at myORCA.com or with the myORCA app and connect the cards you want to manage to your account. Visit our account management guide for instructions on how to transfer funds between cards.

Pricing

How much does it cost to convert my existing plastic ORCA card to a digital card in Google Wallet? 

You can convert your plastic ORCA card to a digital card in Google Wallet the first time for free. 

Does it cost anything to add a new digital ORCA card to my Google Wallet?

You can add a new digital ORCA card directly to your Google Wallet, without purchasing a plastic card, for $3.00. 

How much does it cost to load money or passes on my ORCA card in Google Wallet? 

You can load money and passes to your ORCA card in Google Wallet. There are no additional fees and prices are the same as a plastic card.

More about Google Wallet and Google Pay

What is the difference between Google Wallet and Google Pay? 

For more information about Google Wallet and Google Pay, visit Google’s support page here

Why can’t I use a credit card that I have loaded in my Google Wallet? 

Currently, we only accept the ORCA card (plastic or digital in Google Wallet) as a form of payment on our card readers. You can use a credit card to load funds to your ORCA card using the Google Wallet app (with a separate credit card stored in Wallet), myORCA.com, the myORCA app, at ticket vending machines, retail locations,  and customer service locations. The ORCA card team is actively working to expand our system’s capabilities.

To get the latest updates on ORCA, follow us on social media @TheORCACard or sign up for our monthly customer newsletter.

Other payment platforms

Why isn’t ORCA available on other operating systems?
We are committed to bringing the convenience of mobile payments to all our
customers, but we have nothing else to share at this time. To get the latest updates on ORCA, follow us on social media @TheORCACard or sign up for our monthly customer newsletter.

Customer support

Where can I get support for issues with Google Pay, Google Wallet, or my Android Device? 

If you have questions about using Google Pay to pay for transit or the Google Wallet app, please visit Google support pages for help

If you have questions about your Android device including issues with tapping your phone and compatibility with Google Wallet, visit your device manufacturer’s website for support information

Where can I get support for issues related to my ORCA account? 

If you have questions about your ORCA account, including your balance and products loaded to your ORCA card, contact ORCA customer support.

How can I permanently delete the ORCA card in my Google Wallet?

You can permanently delete your ORCA card from Google Wallet by selecting delete in the ORCA card settings within Google Wallet. Only do this if you wish to permanently delete the card. Once you do this any money or passes will be lost and can only be recovered by contacting ORCA customer service with your ORCA card number and security code. Recovering your balance may be subject to refund fees and purchase price of a new card. If you receive an ORCA card from an employer, school, or other organization, reach out directly to them if you need to recover your card. 

Does Google collect my location and transit travel information through Google Wallet? 

No. While some location information and transaction history is displayed for the ORCA card in Google Wallet, that information is stored on ORCA systems and subject to our Customer Privacy Policy.

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