Paying With Cash?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Everydaymatters

Engineer
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,282
Location
Just North of Normal, Illinois
Sorry if this was asked before. I spent a while searching and could not find an answer for this. Asking for a friend who is new to Amtrak travel. She does not have a credit card and uses only cash or checks. Will the cafe attendant accept cash? What does Amtrak do under these circumstances? Surely, they can't let a pax go without food.
 

FrensicPic

Engineer
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,312
Location
LAX
All on-board announcements I've head is credit or debit card only, no cash.
Would they make a special accommodation? Don't know and that would probably be up to the crew.
If your friend has a checking account, they should be able to get a debit card attached to that account.
 

PVD

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
5,911
Location
NYC/Queens
If you get a debit card from a bank, make sure it has the logo/tie to one of the major credit card companies like Visa or MC. Some banks have cards that they issue that are glorified ATM cards.
 

CTANut

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
135
Location
USA
There is a machine at Chicago Union Station that will issue a prepaid debit card in exchange for cash. I think you can load up to $500 on the card. There should not be any fees associated with it. If she does not want to do that, she can sign up for this card: Bluebird Prepaid Debit Account
She can load the cash at any Walmart to use this card. A last resort option could be to ask another passenger in the cafe to pay with their card. Then, she could give that passenger her cash. I had someone do that with me on my last trip.
 

Everydaymatters

Engineer
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,282
Location
Just North of Normal, Illinois
There is a machine at Chicago Union Station that will issue a prepaid debit card in exchange for cash. I think you can load up to $500 on the card. There should not be any fees associated with it. If she does not want to do that, she can sign up for this card: Bluebird Prepaid Debit Account
She can load the cash at any Walmart to use this card. A last resort option could be to ask another passenger in the cafe to pay with their card. Then, she could give that passenger her cash. I had someone do that with me on my last trip.
These are all good ideas, but she will not be going through Chicago. This lady is elderly and doesn't use the internet. Her best bet might be to give someone cash.
 

CTANut

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
135
Location
USA
If you are a member of one of these banks, you can buy her a visa gift card that she can use on the train. Is she traveling in coach or sleeper?
Of course, you could buy a vanilla visa gift card, but that would cost extra money.
 

Qapla

Engineer
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
2,109
Location
Gator Country Florida
You can purchase a usable card from most Walmart stores ... and that should not require leaving from any particular place since Walmart is the nations largest retailer and they are everywhere

The cards are usually found on a display near all the cash registers
 

jebr

Enthusiastic Transit Rider
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
4,480
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
If she has a checking account, a debit card issued through the bank/credit union would work fine so long as it has the Visa or Mastercard logo on them (they almost all do.) The bank/credit union may also have an option to buy a prepaid Visa/Mastercard gift card through them, and the fees may be reduced.

Otherwise the only option currently would be to buy a prepaid/gift Visa/Mastercard/Discover/American Express before boarding - they're available at most convenience stores, along with grocery stores and "big box" stores. There's a fee to buy them, so be aware of that before buying them. They cannot buy an Amtrak gift card for onboard purchases, it must be a Visa/Mastercard/Discover/American Express card.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,724
Location
EOTL
Will the cafe attendant accept cash? What does Amtrak do under these circumstances? Surely, they can't let a pax go without food.
The cafe attendant will most likely refuse her cash and tell her only cards are allowed for food or anything outside of tips. I'm not sure why people think fewer options is a good thing but in several threads AU members have cheered the refusal of cash and any other payment method they do not personally require.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,311
Location
Washington State
Just to be clear, Amtrak instituted a no cash policy with COVID. They will not take cash in the cafe.

Since you say she has a checking account, the easiest thing would be to ask the bank to issue a debit card for her account.
 

John Bobinyec

Conductor
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
1,867
Location
CYN
Sorry if this was asked before. I spent a while searching and could not find an answer for this. Asking for a friend who is new to Amtrak travel. She does not have a credit card and uses only cash or checks. Will the cafe attendant accept cash? What does Amtrak do under these circumstances? Surely, they can't let a pax go without food.
How will she pay for her ticket in the first place?
jb
 

Triley

Real Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 14, 2008
Messages
1,530
Location
Somewhere between VAC and EUG
All on-board announcements I've head is credit or debit card only, no cash.
Would they make a special accommodation? Don't know and that would probably be up to the crew.
If your friend has a checking account, they should be able to get a debit card attached to that account.
No exemptions can be made. We are not even suppose offer to accept cash and then charge our own card, nor are we suppose to solicit this option from other Cafe patrons. If someone offers, then it's fine.

The only exception I personally make to this policy is unaccompanied minors, who's parents ignored the notifications on the website, in the station, and (for those that escort their kids to the train/Cafe car) all over the Cafe. Though I'm not working a long distance trains, so it's easier for me to hold this stance.

How will she pay for her ticket in the first place?
jb
This is always my thought, when I encounter someone who claims they didn't know about the policy.

Sorry if this was asked before. I spent a while searching and could not find an answer for this. Asking for a friend who is new to Amtrak travel. She does not have a credit card and uses only cash or checks. Will the cafe attendant accept cash? What does Amtrak do under these circumstances? Surely, they can't let a pax go without food.
Just out of curiosity, when is she heading out on the train? Cash has returned to certain local trains, and is suppose to be back nationwide in about 2 weeks or so.
 

Everydaymatters

Engineer
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,282
Location
Just North of Normal, Illinois
No exemptions can be made. We are not even suppose offer to accept cash and then charge our own card, nor are we suppose to solicit this option from other Cafe patrons. If someone offers, then it's fine.

The only exception I personally make to this policy is unaccompanied minors, who's parents ignored the notifications on the website, in the station, and (for those that escort their kids to the train/Cafe car) all over the Cafe. Though I'm not working a long distance trains, so it's easier for me to hold this stance.



This is always my thought, when I encounter someone who claims they didn't know about the policy.



Just out of curiosity, when is she heading out on the train? Cash has returned to certain local trains, and is suppose to be back nationwide in about 2 weeks or so.
I paid for her ticket with my credit card and she paid me cash.
 

peteypablo

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Messages
48
During my latest trip, I remember announcements that, at an upcoming station, it is possible to put in cash and get a debit card. I take this as the only "accommodation" they offer. Obviously, it's better she do that before getting on the train.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,922
Location
Long Island, NY
Effective Sept. 27, Ticket offices (with limited exception) and trains originating on or after this date, will resume accepting cash. The six stations that are exceptions are : NY Penn, Lakeland fl, La Junta Co., and ( I knew I should have wrote down what I read....)
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,724
Location
EOTL
Effective Sept. 27, Ticket offices (with limited exception) and trains originating on or after this date, will resume accepting cash. The six stations that are exceptions are : NY Penn, Lakeland fl, La Junta Co., and ( I knew I should have wrote down what I read....)
Excellent news! ✅ :)

Masks and vaccines remain important tools to fight the pandemic but it's nice to see unsubstantiated concern over surface contact finally abating somewhat.
 
Last edited:

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,796
Location
Ithaca, NY
Effective Sept. 27, Ticket offices (with limited exception) and trains originating on or after this date, will resume accepting cash. The six stations that are exceptions are : NY Penn, Lakeland fl, La Junta Co., and ( I knew I should have wrote down what I read....)
That is good news though the exception list is flat-out weird. I assume there are obscure local condition issues at each of the six stations and they will resume accepting cash later.
 

Triley

Real Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 14, 2008
Messages
1,530
Location
Somewhere between VAC and EUG
Effective Sept. 27, Ticket offices (with limited exception) and trains originating on or after this date, will resume accepting cash. The six stations that are exceptions are : NY Penn, Lakeland fl, La Junta Co., and ( I knew I should have wrote down what I read....)
I noticed Spokane was one of them, oddly enough.

it felt so weird taking cash again, today. lol
 

JayPea

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
4,141
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
I noticed Spokane was one of them, oddly enough.

it felt so weird taking cash again, today. lol
That is indeed odd about my "home" station, Spokane, even though it doesn't affect me personally as I've never had any occasion to use cash at the station there. Good to see Amtrak accepting cash aboard trains again.
 
Top