How do I scan my TAP card on my phone?

Scanning a TAP card on your phone is easy with the right app! The TAP app allows you to store your TAP card on your iPhone or Android phone, so you don’t need to carry your physical card. Here are some quick answers about how to get set up:

What do I need to scan my TAP card on my phone?

To scan your TAP card on your phone, you’ll need:

  • A compatible iPhone or Android smartphone
  • The TAP app installed on your phone
  • An active TAP card registered to your account

How do I get the TAP app?

The TAP app is available for free download from the App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android phones. Search for “TAP App” and look for the official app from TAP.

Is my phone compatible with the TAP app?

The TAP app requires an iPhone 6s or newer running iOS 13 or later. For Android, you’ll need Android 6.0 Marshmallow or newer. Your phone also needs NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities to scan your card.

How do I register my TAP card?

If you have a new TAP card, you’ll first need to register it to your account on the TAP website or app before you can add it to your phone’s digital wallet. Here are the steps:

  1. Create an account on the TAP website or in the TAP app
  2. Register your TAP card by entering the card number
  3. Add funds to your card if needed

How do I add my TAP card to the app?

Once you have a registered TAP card, adding it to the app is easy:

  1. Open the TAP app and log in to your account
  2. Tap “Add new card” and select “Physical card”
  3. Hold your phone over the middle of your TAP card until it scans
  4. Enter your card’s security code when prompted

How do I use my phone to scan my TAP card?

To use your digital TAP card on your phone, simply open the TAP app and select your card. Then tap your phone against the TAP reader at transit stations just like you would your physical card. Your phone needs to be powered on.

Scanning tips

  • Hold your phone flat against the TAP logo on the fare reader
  • Wait for the checkmark animation and beep that indicates it scanned properly
  • Keep your phone near the reader until the gates open

What if my TAP card doesn’t scan from my phone?

If your digital TAP card isn’t scanning properly, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Make sure NFC is enabled on your phone. This can usually be found in your phone’s settings.
  • Your phone’s battery may be too low. Digital cards require power.
  • Restart your phone and try again. This can clear any glitches.
  • Remove the card from your phone wallet and re-add it.
  • Contact TAP customer service for further help.

Can I use my phone’s digital wallet instead of the TAP app?

Yes, you can add your TAP card to your iPhone or Android phone’s default digital wallet app instead of the TAP app. On iPhone this is called Apple Wallet, and on Android phones it is Google Pay.

Simply open your digital wallet app, tap “Add card”, and follow the prompts to scan your physical TAP card. Then you can tap your phone to ride transit just like using the TAP app.

What are the benefits of using my phone instead of a card?

There are several advantages to keeping your TAP card on your phone:

  • Convenience – Don’t need to locate your physical card
  • Security – Don’t need to worry about losing your card
  • Easy reloading – Can add funds right in the app
  • Card management – Check balance and transaction history in the app

How is my TAP card secured on my phone?

Digital TAP cards utilize secure NFC technology to transmit your card details securely to the fare reader. The card details themselves are stored securely within your phone’s systems just like any payment card.

You also need to enter your TAP card’s security code when first adding it to your phone. This helps prevent unauthorized access.

Can I still use my physical TAP card if I have it on my phone?

Yes, you can continue using your physical TAP card even with the digital version active on your phone. Both will function and pull funds from your TAP account.

However, you can only use one at a time when tapping to pay for transit. You cannot pay for multiple people with both at once.

What happens if I get a new phone?

If you get a new phone, you’ll simply need to download the TAP app, log into your account, and re-add your TAP card on the new device. As long as you use the same TAP account, your card details will carry over.

Can I use my digital TAP card when my phone is off/dead?

Unfortunately your digital TAP card will not work if your phone is powered off or has a dead battery. This is because the NFC capabilities require power from your phone. So make sure to charge your phone before relying on your digital card!

Is there a limit to how many cards I can store on my phone?

The TAP app allows you to store up to 10 active TAP cards in your account at once. However, you can only use one digital card at a time for scanning purposes.

Your phone’s digital wallet may have separate limits, so check your device specs. But for all practical purposes, one TAP card on your phone is ideal.

Can I use my digital TAP card on multiple devices?

You can only activate each TAP card number on one device at a time. However, you can switch the linked device for a card at any time. Just deactivate it from your old phone first.

Log into your TAP account online to manage which device has your card activated. You can also remove lost/expired cards this way.

Is there an expiration date for storing my TAP card on my phone?

There is no specific expiration for how long your digital TAP card is valid on your phone. It will remain active and usable as long as the card itself remains active.

Of course, your physical TAP card does expire after a certain period of inactivity. But as long as you keep using your digital card, it will not expire due to time limits.

Can I get a student/senior discount when using my phone?

Yes, you can still receive student, senior, and other fare discounts when using your phone to scan your TAP card. The discounts are connected to your TAP card number and account details.

As long as your eligibility is recorded properly with TAP, the correct discounted fare will be deducted when you scan your digital card from your phone.

Is there an age requirement for the mobile TAP card app?

There is no specific age minimum to use the mobile TAP card app. However, you generally must be 13 years or older to create an account on most app platforms per their terms.

Additionally, you must have a valid registered TAP card account in order to add your transit card to a phone wallet. So there is no specific age, but practical requirements dictate having your own TAP account.

Can I use my digital TAP card on LA Metro buses?

Yes, you can scan your mobile TAP card on all LA Metro buses by tapping your phone on the onboard fare reader. Look for the TAP logo by the door to know where to scan your phone.

Does my phone need to be connected to the internet to scan my TAP card?

No, you do not need an active internet connection for your digital TAP card to work. The NFC capabilities allow your card details to be transmitted directly to the fare reader.

The only time internet is required is when initially adding the card to your phone wallet. After that, offline usage is fine.

Can I use my phone’s TAP card in other cities?

Unfortunately the LA TAP system is currently only usable on LA Metro and participating transit systems in the greater Los Angeles area. Other cities and regions have their own transit card systems.

So your digital LA TAP card can only be used around Los Angeles. It will not work on transit systems in other cities that use different payment technologies.

Is tapping with my phone slower than using the physical card?

When using your phone, the tap and scanning process takes about the same amount of time as using your physical TAP card. The NFC transfer speeds are quite fast.

The only delay may be unlocking your phone and opening your wallet app first before scanning. But once your phone is ready, the actual tapping process against the fare reader is just as fast as a regular card.

Can I use my phone’s TAP card if my phone is in a case?

Yes, you can successfully scan your digital TAP card even if your phone is in a case. However, very thick or bulky cases that block the NFC signal can sometimes interfere.

If you are having trouble scanning your phone with a case on, try removing the case and tapping again. Thinner cases generally don’t cause any issues.

Tips for using a phone case

  • Use a reasonably thin case
  • Tap the back of your phone flat against the scanner
  • Aim for the middle of your phone when tapping
  • Remove thick/bulky cases if needed

Can I store transportation cards from other cities on my phone too?

If you regularly visit another major city, you may be able to store multiple transportation cards in your phone’s wallet app. For example:

  • LA TAP card for Los Angeles Metro
  • ORCA card for Seattle transit
  • Chicago Transit Authority card for Chicago buses/trains

Check if the transit agency in the other city offers a mobile ticketing app that supports digital cards. Then you can conveniently access multiple cards from your phone as needed when travelling.


Using your iPhone or Android phone to scan your TAP transit card makes riding LA Metro even more convenient. With the TAP app and your phone’s NFC capabilities, you can ditch the physical card and have easy access to tap-and-go transit payments right from your device. Just be sure to register your TAP card properly, download the app, and you’ll be on your way!

Sample Fare Table

Fare Type Price
Regular $1.75
Seniors/Disabled $0.75
Students $1.00

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