Where to buy IPass for the different types of transponders
Buying the IPass in person vs Buying online at getipass | Where to buy IPass
Pros of buying the iPass at an in person location:
- If you order your iPass transponder online it will take 14-21 days for you to get it according to iPass customer service. The advantage of buying it in person is that you will get it immediately.
- If you buy your iPass from the Illinois tollway oasis locations that are listed further down this page, they will activate it for you and set you up with an account.
Pros of buying the iPass online on getipass:
- Buying an iPass online is cheaper than buying it in person at Jewel and Road Rangers. Buying online costs $30 and buying from a Jewel and Road Ranger location costs $32.90. However, buying online is the same price ($30) as buying in-person from an iPass center at a tollway oasis which also costs $30. $20 goes on your balance to pay tolls. The $10 will be the deposit for the device. The extra $2.90 at Jewel and Road Ranger goes to Jewel and Road Ranger for their profit/the trouble of stocking the item at their location.
- Buying your iPass online or buying your iPass by calling their customer service number will already activate the iPass device and you (and you will already have an account on getipass.com because to buy an iPass online you need to make an account on getipass.com, and the customer service people you call will also help you make an account). If you purchase your iPass in person from a Road Ranger or Jewel, then you will need to activate your iPass so it can work (and you’ll need to make an account on getipass.com eventually). You can activate your iPass by making an account at getipass.com and following the steps listed on my guide on how to activate iPass.
1) Use the internet to buy an iPass (how buy IPass online if you don’t have a getipass account and if you do have a getipass account)
Here’s how to buy an iPass over the internet if you don’t already have an iPass account on getipass.com:
If you do not have an account already, go to getipass.com, and click on the “OPEN I-PASS ACCOUNT” button as shown below:
If you are wondering what the pay-by-plate account is on the right of the iPass account, know that there are two different types of accounts you can get: a pay-by-plate account and an iPass account (which is the regular account). With the pay-by-plate account, you do not get a transponder. You do not have to install a transponder on your car. With a pay-by-plate account, you put money in your account to pay for tolls just like you would with an iPass account. When you go through a toll it charges you. You pay a higher rate for pay by plate because there’s more of a process to take a picture and process it.
MATERIALS YOU NEED TO BUY AN IPASS ONLINE
You will need to provide a credit card number, driver’s license number, vehicle registration information, and VIN number. A deposit and an initial amount of money into your account will be required to cover tolls. After completing the account setup process, you can order one or more transponder devices for your car.
WHAT IT COSTS TO BUY AN IPASS ONLINE WITHOUT AN ACCOUNT
Since you do not have an account already, it will cost $30 online. $20 goes on your balance to pay tolls. The $10 will be the deposit for the device. If you were to return it back (meaning close the account) and you no longer want the transponder, you will put it in the mail and send it to whatever office is on the website and they credit you back the $10. They will put this $10 in your account.
Once you are done making your account and buying your transponder, you will then choose a username/password that you can use to log in to your account and view your balance and other relevant information.
Now your account is in a “Proposed state/pending.” A “proposed state” account will only happen if you don’t have a transponder yet and you need them to mail it to you. Your account on getipass.com will not become active until they start mailing out transponders. When they get ready to start mailing out the transponder it will be activated and listed on your account. In this proposed state you pretty much can’t use your account for anything such as paying for tolls or purchasing new transponders online. Usually, the proposed state will only last for a day or two until they start mailing out the transponders.
How to buy an iPass over the internet if you already have an iPass account on getipass.com:
Note: It costs $10 to buy a new IPass transponder if you already have an account and have purchased a transponder already.
Step 1: Go into your account dashboard and click "view transponders"
Step 2: Click “ORDER TRANSPONDER”
Step 3: Enter the vehicle type, vehicle class, and the type of transponder you want to buy. At the top of the blog post I describe what type of transponder (either windshield mounted, license plate mounted, or roof mounted) that you should get depending on what car you have.
2) You can also purchase an iPass by calling the iPass customer service number
You can call 800-824-7277. They are available Monday through Friday from 7 AM-5 PM Central Time. The number is not available Saturday and Sunday (they are closed on weekends). If you purchase an iPass over the phone it takes 14-21 days to be delivered. The iPass customer service is great in general. The customer service phone number has Spanish-speaking representatives. To speak to a Spanish-speaking representative press 2 when they first direct you to press a number. When they direct you to press a second number, press 2 to speak to a customer service representative who will help you purchase an iPass (they will mail it to your home). They will also help you activate your iPass if you have one already. They will also set you up with an account on getipass.com if you need one. A customer service representative will make an account for you on their computer, so you do not have to do anything on your computer.
Right now you are calling the customer service and you do not have a transponder and you do not have an account and you want them to mail you a transponder and set you up with an account. In this case, because you do not already have a transponder (and the representative is going to mail you the transponder) when the representative sets you up with an account, your account will be marked as pending. A “proposed state” account will only happen if you don’t have a transponder yet and you need them to mail it to you. Your account on getipass.com will not become active until they start mailing out transponders. When they get ready to start mailing out the transponder it will be activated and listed on your account. In this proposed state you pretty much can’t use your account for anything such as paying for tolls or purchasing new transponders online. Usually, the proposed state will only last for a day or two until they start mailing out the transponders.
3) You can buy an iPass near you from Jewel-Osco and Road Ranger locations
The first retail outlet you can buy an iPass near you from is Jewel-Osco. You want to go to the customer service center inside the Jewel in order to purchase the iPass. Jewel doesn’t sell iPass transponders in the aisles of Jewel. Nearly 200 Jewel-Osco locations throughout Illinois offer I-PASS transponders and I-PASS Gift Cards (money that you can add to your getipass.com account to pay tolls). Jewel-Osco charges $32.90 per transponder.
The second retail outlet where you can buy an iPass are the Road Ranger locations. Road Ranger locations also charge $32.90 per transponder. Not all Road Ranger locations sell an iPass, but the below six Road Ranger stations do. Many of the Road Ranger Locations are located in Northwest Illinois.
These are the six Road Ranger stations that sell the iPass:
19N681, US-20, Hampshire, IL 60140
7500 E Riverside Blvd, Loves Park, IL 61111
6070 Gardner St, South Beloit, IL 61080
4980 S Main St, Rockford, IL 61102
890 IL-38, Rochelle, IL 61068
902 N Elida St, Winnebago, IL 61088
4) Buy an iPass near you from an Illinois tollway oasis or the Downers Grove iPass Headquarters
Note: There are iPass centers at the below Illinois tollway oases where you can purchase an iPass. It costs $30 to purchase an iPass from a tollway oases iPass center. They will activate the transponder for you at an Illinois tollway oasis and set you up with an account on getipass.com there. A tollway oasis looks like an offramp but it’s just a little area that has a gas station, convenience stores, and a parking lot. Some oases are built directly over the road. If it didn’t say oasis you’d think it’s an exit to another road, but when you are there it will say oasis with a sign, so instead of saying “Morris Illinois Exit 15” it will say something like “Lake Forest oasis” with a sign. There’s often a truck parking lot, but each oasis is different. Some are just for cars. Some are for cars and trucks.
BELOW Are the Two ILLINOIS TOLLWAY OASES That are currently open (and also the downers grove headquarters):
- The Tollway’s Central Administration Building
2700 Ogden Avenue in Downers Grove, IL
Weekdays 7 AM to 6 PM
- Lake Forest Oasis
Location: Tri-State Tollway (I-94), Milepost 18
Weekdays 7 AM to 6 PM
- Belvidere Oasis
Location: Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), Milepost 24
Weekdays 7 AM to 6 PM
This link has a summary of what is available at each of the Illinois tollway oases.
What type of iPass transponder should I buy?
There are three different types of transponders: windshield-mounted transponder, license plate transponder (LPT), and roof-mounted transponder. The vast majority of people have windshield-mounted transponders.
However, windshield-mounted transponders don’t work in electric cars such as Teslas. Electric cars need a license plate mounted transponder. Fewer than 1% of vehicles have windshields or systems that interfere with transactions using the windshield-mounted transponder, but the vehicles in this list are vehicles that require a license plate transponder. This PDF shows you how to install a license plate transponder.
Windshield mounted transponders do work in motorcycles though!
The roof-mounted transponder is recommended for large commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks, coaches, RVs, trailers, and commercial semi trucks. Where you will need to get a new transponder is when you have a really big vehicle, such as the 18-wheelers, class 3 or 4, like 2 or 3 axles but if you just have a regular vehicle that has 2 axles and 4 tires that’s a basic transponder. If you are driving something like a 3 axle bus or a 3 axle truck or an 18 wheeler with double trailers then the vehicle classification gets a little different. Do know that to install a roof mounted transponder, you have to drill a hole in your roof. This PDF shows you how to install a roof mounted transponder.
Note: As far as how the transponders communicate with the toll system when you drive through a toll, the transponders are the same. The difference between the types of transponders are where they are located and what the transponders look like.
When you purchase a windshield mounted transponder at a Jewel or Road Ranger it will come with an activation sticker that looks like how it does below. You can read my post on how to activate iPass transponders.
The license plate mounted transponder and the roof mounted transponder look the same. Below are pictures of what they look like:
Front of transponder
Back of transponder
I have a transponder already. Do I need a new one? Can I use an IPass in a rental vehicle?
There are around 10 years of life in an iPass transponder. 2 months prior to your transponder expiring Illinois Tollway will send you an email saying you can exchange your expired transponder for a new one. You must bring this letter and the old transponder with you to get a new replacement transponder. Replacement transponders are available at the customer service desk of any Illinois Jewel-Osco store, the six Road Ranger locations that sell IPass transponders, or any Illinois Tollway Customer Service Center which are located at the two Illinois tollway oases and Downers Grove headquarters that I list at the bottom of this blog post.
You do not need to buy a new iPass transponder if you get a new vehicle that is compatible with that transponder (see above for what types of transponders are compatible with what vehicles). You can take your transponder off of a vehicle that you’ve put it in already and put the transponder on another vehicle. This means that you can share your iPass with other people’s vehicles as long as you add that person’s vehicle to your getipass.com account. In other words, you can use one transponder for multiple vehicles as long as you have those vehicles added in your getipass.com account. You can have as many vehicles as you want in your getipass.com account. Similarly, you can use put and use your IPASS to pay tolls in a rental vehicle as long as you add the license plate of the rental vehicle to your getipass.com account. Then when you’re done using the rental you would just remove the rental vehicle from your account and remove the transponder from the rental vehicle. The below picture is where you are going to add a new vehicle if you have a new vehicle to add. Just click “ADD VEHICLE.”
It’s important to add your vehicles to your account so that the appropriate fee can be subtracted from your account balance when you go through a toll with that vehicle that has your transponder inside. If you don’t add the vehicle (even if you have the transponder in the vehicle), then when you pass through the toll, a picture of your license plate will be taken and you will be charged a larger toll than you would’ve been charged if you had added the vehicle. This process is called “pay by plate.”
Note: If you don’t want to add your vehicle under your existing iPass account, you can also open a pay-by-plate account for a different vehicle on getipass.com, but this is just more expensive and not something you’d want to do.
Other resources: If you have still unanswered questions about the IPass in general, you can check out my post about the IPass.