Last updated on January 3rd, 2018
If you live and work in New York and frequently have to buy or reload metrocards, you need the EasyPay Xpress Metrocard.
Having one marks the end of your seeing the “insufficient funds” message appear on the subway turnstile as your hopes of catching the train about to leave the station disappear.
You also never have to worry about losing money if you lose your card, because you can report it online and they will freeze your account and send you a new card.
The card comes in two varieties:
- 30-day unlimited
30-day Unlimited EasyPay Xpress Metrocard
According to the EasyPay Xpress Metrocard FAQ, the 30-day unlimited card works as follows:
An EasyPayXpress Unlimited account is opened with $121.00 The EasyPayXpress 30-Day Unlimited MetroCard functions just like the regular 30-Day Unlimited MetroCard; it starts when you first use it. At the end of the 30-Day Unlimited plan your credit/debit card will be charged $121.00 and your first use will start a new 30-Day period.
- When you report your EasyPayXpress MetroCard lost/stolen or damaged to the EasyPay Account Service Center, they will deactivate your card to protect you from unauthorized charges and automatically credit your account for the remaining days in your 30-Day Unlimited plan.
- Under this plan there is a Pay-Per-Ride option that can be used when you will not use it for 30 days, such as during vacations or business trips. The Pay-Per-Ride mode applies a discount to each ride that is equivalent to the bonus. Whenever your EasyPayXpress balance goes below $20.00, your credit/debit card will be used to replenish your account with $30.00
- You can switch back to the 30-Day Unlimited mode anytime online or by calling the EasyPay Account Service Center.
According to the EasyPay Xpress Metrocard FAQ, the Pay-Per-Ride card works as follows:
An EasyPayXpress Pay-Per-Ride account is opened with $30.00 You will receive a 5% bonus, so your account starts out with $31.50. You also receive a 5% bonus every time $5.50 or more is added to your account. Whenever your EasyPayXpress balance goes below $20, your credit/debit card will be used to replenish your account.
- When you report your EasyPayXpress MetroCard lost/stolen or damaged to the EasyPay Account Service Center, we will deactivate your card to protect you from unauthorized charges.
- Under this plan there is no 30-Day Unlimited mode.
Which should you get?
As of December 2017, a subway ride costs $2.75. With the 5% effective discount you receive if you use a pay-per-ride card, the fare is actually only ~$2.62.
The 30-day unlimited card costs $121. Therefore if you ride the subway more than 46.2 times over the course of a 30-day period, you would be better off buying the unlimited card. Essentially, if you ride the subway or bus to work and home every day, it makes sense to get the 30-day card.
Even if you don’t ride it that often, however, it may still make sense to get the 30-day variety. That is because you are able to switch your plan to the Pay-Per-Ride program (and back to the 30-day unlimited plan) whenever you want. This is what I do, because if I’m in New York for a continuous 30-day period, I usually do ride the subway over 46 times. However, I’m often not in New York for a continuous 30 days and during those periods it makes sense for me to switch to the Pay-Per-Ride product.
With the Pay-Per-Ride product, however, you do not have the option to switch to the 30-day unlimited version.
The one caveat is if you often ride express buses. The Unlimited card does not work on express buses, while the Pay-Per-Ride version does.
I should also note that the unlimited card (even when switched to Pay-Per-Ride mode) does not work on the AirTrain to JFK.
How does it work?
You just sign up here: EasyPay Xpress Application
You provide the credit card details of the card you want to charge.
And, then some weeks later a card arrives and you never have to worry about buying a metrocard again (unless you take the AirTrain).
If you want to change your 30-day unlimited card to a pay-per-ride card, it’s easy to do by logging into your account.
Logging into your account also allows you to change your credit card details or report that your card is lost or stolen.
If you’ve managed any account online before, you’ll be able to manage this one.