When I help my New York City clients get organized, we often find stacks of transit passes known as MetroCards in purses, drawers, and other niches. There is no way to tell by looking at a MetroCard whether it has any value on it or not. What you can tell, however, is whether it has expired, as the expiration date is clearly printed on the back.
What should you do if you have an expired MetroCard? The answer depends on how long ago it expired. You have two years from the expiration date to transfer any remaining funds to a new card.
If it expired less than a year ago, you can bring it to a subway station and ask the agent to make the transfer. (I did that today and it took just a few seconds). You can have multiple cards transferred onto one card, which will help you prevent overlooked cards in the future.
If it has been more than a year but less than two years, you have to send it to MetroCard customer claims. Ask a station agent for a postage-paid Business Reply Envelope, or simply mail it to:
MetroCard Customer Claims
130 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
I generally avoid having to worry about expired cards because I use the EasyPay MetroCard, which automatically refills when it gets below a certain threshhold. They send me a new card when it gets close to the expiration date. You can read more about it here.
The only reason I had to take care of an expired card today is that I keep a spare card in my planner, in case my usual card gets misplaced. When I did the transfer, I discovered that there was nearly $26 left on that card. Good thing I didn’t just toss it!
What should you do with MetroCards that are more than two years old? How about making a nice collage, framing them, and hanging them near your front door as a reminder to keep track of your expiration dates?!