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Lost Your MetroCard? Getting Your Money Back Is Easier Than You Think

February 5th, 2011 |  Published in MetroCards  |  18 Comments
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For most New Yorkers, a MetroCard is one of the most important things to carry at all times.  It is essentially a golden ticket to the city: whether traveling by bus or by subway, it gives you access to nearly every neighborhood in the city, 24 hours a day.  If you lose your card, it is obviously a major problem!

Luckily, there are MetroCard vending machines at nearly every subway station so buying a new card is easy.  But what if you bought your monthly pass just the week before?  You certainly don’t want to spend another $100 on a new card or go 3 weeks without one.  The good news is that if you used a credit/debit card, getting a refund for your lost card is a surprisingly easy process.

Simply call 212-METROCARD (212-638-7622) and speak to an MTA representative.  Let them know you lost your card and they will ask for your name and contact info as well as the credit/debit card number you used to buy your card.  Within a few moments, they will see when you purchased your card and you will get a prorated refund for the cost of your card!  They will pay you back for each day that was remaining on your card (so make sure to call them as soon as you lose it- not a week later!).  Unfortunately this replacement insurance is not available for cash-value cards, only 14 or 30 day Unlimited MetroCards and 7-Day Express Bus Plus cards.  But you will get paid back $2.97 for each day remaining on your 30 Day Unlimited, $3.68 per day for your 14 Day Unlimited or $6.43 per day for your 7-Day Express Bus Plus.

MTA provides this service for free for your first lost, but if you lose a second card in the same calendar year, you have to pay a $5 fee.  Lose it more than twice and you are out of luck: they will only give you money back for 2 cards per calendar year.  Get a wallet.

Hopefully you won’t need to take advantage of this service very often, but if you do, be happy that it is a lot easier than you would expect. I lost my card a few months ago and it only took 5 minutes on the phone for me to get $60 back for my lost card.  It took about 4 more days for the money to show up in my bank account, but waiting 4 days beats the heck out of losing the value of your card completely!  Thanks, MTA!

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About the author: Andrew Cafourek

Andrew Cafourek Andrew lives in Brooklyn, and just got back from drifting around Eastern Europe for a few months. He makes stuff on the internet including Become A New Yorker, Alumni Spaces and a variety of other goodies with A022 Digital.

Andrew came to New York from the Midwest in the fall of 2008 after selling his car for $350... just enough for a one way plane ticket.


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  • Itz_bubbleface

    How long did it take to get your money back?

  • Anonymous

    When I filed a claim, it only took about 4 days to get the pro-rated amount back into my account, but they tell you it may take up to 2 weeks. I just depends on your bank’s systems I suppose.

  • Sanjidude

    This is so not true. I paid for an unlimited card that did not function correctly so I sent it back in February 2012. It is now mid April and the status online still says pending. When I called the MTA customer svc #, they said they are backed up and just getting to the December requests. Huh?? That card cost me over $100 – why should I have to wait  for months to get my money back. This organization is a ridiculous excuse for a business. The only reason they act so unprofessionally is because we’re stuck and have not choice but to use their terrible service or drive. Oh wait, you can’t drive either cause every other block is a pedestrian zone. Visiting NY is great, but it sucks to live here. No wonder everyone is leaving!

  • Jeffnyc

    The reason yours took so long is because you sent in your card.   They get really backed up processing mail.   However, with the 30 day unlimited has a special protection and they process the refund with a call.  You do not mail anything in, you just say you lost it.

  • Blake

    Hidden detail – if you don’t buy unlimited they don’t give shit back, so my $50 lost card is gone, they can’t send you a new one, they can’t refund you. 

    Never buying those again, something to watch out for if you don’t ride the train every day to work.

  • Blake

    Seeing this is not “hidden” in the post – still annoying me right now, why can’t they refund these? It should be like a debit card.

  • Jeffnyc

    Yeah I agree.  I once had a metrocard with like $50 that stopped working.  It took about 3 months to get a replacement after sending the actual card in.  If I had lost it I would have been S.O.L.   I just lost an unlimited and got the refund immediately with about 3 days lag to post to my account – that worked out nice.

  • pissed

    Same exact thing happened to me. I mailed my card in in March… it is now Mid-July and my status is pending. When I called to see what was up, they told me there is backlog and I just have to wait… Totally unacceptable

  • Theresa Jackson

    Your numbers are not working. I been trying to reach you since the hurricane. I lost my monthly metrocard, which I purchased with my WageWorks Debit Commuter Card. I got a new card 11/05/12 @ 86th St. Please stop card I bought on 10/16/12. I look forward to hearing from you. Ms. Jackson

  • PAMELA

    WHAT HAPPENS TO WHEN YOU TRIED TO PURCHASE A METRO CARD WITH A GIFT CARD BUT THE VENDING MACHINE TOOK THE MONEY OFF YOUR CARD BUT NEVER GIVE YOU A CARD?

  • Quitty

    It took me half an hour to be attende and the answer was 7 days unlimited. Metrocard of 29 usd can’t be refund: (

  • sol

    I PURCHASE A 30 DAYS UNLIMITED CARD LAST 4/10/13 IN THE VENDING MACHINES AND I LOST YESTERDAY…I AM CALLING TO 511 BUT IT IS A MACHINE RECORDED…I AM IN THE PHONE FOR 1HR. BEFORE 2 REPRESENTATIVE ASK MY PROBLEM. I EXPLAINING ABOUT MY mta CARD A MINUTES I NEVER HEARD THEIR VOICE. AGAIN ONLY A RECORDED MACHINE…HOW CAN THEY KNOW YOUR PROBLEM IF THEY HANG YOU AND LEAVE YOU IN THE RECORDED MACHINE…?

  • davvid

    212-METROCARD is 212-638-7622??

  • Sarka

    I bougth the unlimited ride-7 days ticket yesterday (with my debit card) and I find out today that the machine charged me twice.What i should do now? I am not from here so I have no idea.Go to Chase first or tried to call them?

  • Pear

    just do a charge back!

  • BB

    thats not true,mine i sent back on 12/5 which i bought on 12/5,now is 1/4,i still haven’t got my money back,i paid $112

  • Ricardo Salazar

    I guess it could be an easy process…if I had the time to stay for over an hour on the phone waiting for a human to actually speak to me. Story of call centers; ¨please continue to hold for the next available representative¨. Ant it never happens. More extra money for MTA, because they sure need it.

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