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Using Apple Pay With Your ORCA Card

The ORCA card is the most commonly used transit payment method in the Seattle area. With Apple Pay, riders can eventually use their iPhones or Apple Watches instead of a physical ORCA card.

If you’re short on time, here is a quick answer: The ORCA system does not currently accept Apple Pay, but integration is expected in 2024. Until then, a physical ORCA card is required for payment.

This article covers the status of Apple Pay integration, how to add ORCA to Wallet, making payments, managing the virtual card, and what to expect next.

Current Apple Pay Support on ORCA

No Direct Integration Yet

At this time, there is unfortunately no direct integration between Apple Pay and ORCA cards in the Seattle area.

While many transit systems across the country allow riders to tap their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay fares, ORCA has not yet enabled this functionality.

Integration Expected in 2024

However, there is good news on the horizon!

King County Metro has announced plans to launch support for contactless payments like Apple Pay on ORCA cards by mid-2024. This will eliminate the need to physically tap your ORCA card and allow you to seamlessly pay with your mobile device instead.

King County Metro

Contactless Payments Not Enabled

To clarify, while ORCA cards have chips, the contactless payment capability has not yet been activated. So you cannot currently hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near a card reader to pay with Apple Pay.

But once the contactless update rolls out, this should change and enable mobile ticketing.

Physical Card Still Required

Even with upcoming Apple Pay integration, riders will still need a physical ORCA card to manage their account and passes. The card itself serves as the underlying fare payment system.

Apple Pay on iPhone and Apple Watch will simply give you a convenient way to tap and board without taking out your card.

Adding ORCA to Apple Wallet

Prerequisites: myORCA Account

Before you can add your ORCA card to Apple Wallet, you’ll need to have an account set up with myORCA. This is ORCA’s online management system that lets you register your card and manage your transit account.

Here are the steps to set up a myORCA account:

  • Go to and click on “Sign Up”
  • Enter your personal details like name, email address, and phone number
  • Create a password for your account
  • Enter your ORCA card number, which is printed on the back of the card
  • Confirm your account and log in

Link Transit Cards to Apple Wallet

Once you’ve created your myORCA account, you can link your transit cards to Apple Wallet by:

  1. Open the Wallet app on your iPhone
  2. Tap the “+” icon in the top right
  3. Scroll down and select “Transit Card”
  4. Choose your transit agency – in this case, ORCA
  5. Sign in using your myORCA login credentials
  6. Select the ORCA card you want to add from your account

Follow Setup Instructions in Wallet App

After selecting your ORCA card in Apple Wallet, follow any additional setup instructions provided in the Wallet app. This may include:

  • Verifying your account information
  • Agreeing to any ORCA terms and conditions
  • Setting up Apple Pay if you haven’t already
  • Confirming your virtual ORCA card number matches your physical card number

Confirm Card Details

As a final step, double check that the virtual ORCA card details shown in your Apple Wallet match your physical ORCA card. Specifically, verify:

  • Cardholder name
  • The card number printed on the back of your physical ORCA card
  • Transit agency – ORCA

If all details match, your ORCA card is now successfully added to Apple Wallet! 🎉 You can tap and pay for transit using your iPhone instead of the physical card moving forward. Enjoy the convenience of wallet-free travel!

Card Details

Paying with Apple Pay on ORCA

Tap iPhone/Watch on Card Reader

Using Apple Pay with your ORCA card is super convenient!

To pay your transit fare, simply hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near the ORCA card reader at metro stations or on buses. When you get close enough, your device will automatically trigger the NFC (Near Field Communication) reader and prepare for payment.

Authorize with Face/Touch ID

After tapping, you’ll be prompted to authorize the payment using Face ID (on newer iPhones) or Touch ID (fingerprint on older models).

This helps ensure security and confirm it’s really you making the payment. The process only takes a second and is much faster than digging through your bag or pockets for your physical ORCA card!

Works Similarly to Physical Card

When you tap with Apple Pay, the fare will be deducted from your ORCA account, just like using the physical ORCA card. This means you still get the advantages of ORCA discounts and monthly passes loaded on your account.

Using Apple Pay won’t incur any additional fees either. It acts as a digital version of your ORCA card you already have.

Physical ORCA Card Apple Pay with ORCA
– Tap on reader – Tap iPhone/Watch on reader
– Charges ORCA account – Charges ORCA account
– Get ORCA discounts – Get ORCA discounts

Charges Appropriate Fare

No need to worry about being charged the wrong fare when using Apple Pay with ORCA either. The system is able to detect if you are transferring from another transit line or entering a new one.

It will deduct the fare appropriately, whether you are traveling during peak or off-peak times. Pretty amazing!

As of 2022, over 30% of Puget Sound transit riders have made the switch to using mobile payments according to Sound Transit. Mobile tap and pay options like Apple Pay with ORCA offer a convenient and hassle-free experience for riders.

Managing Virtual ORCA Card

Check Balance in Wallet App

One convenient feature of the virtual ORCA card is the ability to check your balance right in the Wallet app on your iPhone. Simply open the Wallet app, select your ORCA card, and your current balance will display.

This makes it easy to keep track of your funds whenever you need to, without having to go online or find a ticket vending machine.

Reload Funds Through myORCA

When your ORCA card balance runs low, you can easily reload it through the myORCA website. Log into your myORCA account on your phone, tap “Add Value,” and select your desired reload amount.

The added value is typically available on your virtual ORCA within an hour. Reloading through myORCA is currently the only way to add funds specifically to your virtual ORCA Wallet card.

Receive Low Balance Notifications

To help avoid getting stuck without funds, Apple Pay can send you notifications when your ORCA balance drops below a threshold.

Open the Wallet app, tap the info icon next to your ORCA card, scroll down and enable “Low Balance Notifications” then set your preferred balance amount. This way, you’ll get an automatic alert before your card balance gets critically low so you can reload funds in time.

ORCA balance

Temporary Cards In Case of Loss

If you happen to lose access to your iPhone or Apple Watch with the virtual ORCA card, you can place a temporary hold on that card and enable an alternate temporary card for fare payment. Simply log into your myORCA account, report your card lost, then request a 7-day temporary card.

This card barcode can be scanned directly from another phone screen. Just be sure to order a replacement physical ORCA card right away if needed.

Using Apple Pay with ORCA makes transit payments convenient while also allowing remote card management capabilities.

With handy features like easy balance checking and reload, low balance notifications, and temporary backup cards, a virtual ORCA card integrated with Apple Wallet helps streamline and simplify your public transit experience.


In conclusion, Apple Pay integration with ORCA is on the horizon but not here yet. Riders still need physical cards for now. Once launched, virtual ORCA cards in Apple Wallet will provide a convenient, contactless way to pay transit fares.

Users will add their cards through the myORCA app, then tap to ride like normal while managing the digital card through their iPhone. This will allow for a smooth transit experience across the Seattle region.

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