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Contactless Payments Trial - frequently asked questions

Transport for NSW is trialling contactless transport payments as an alternative way to pay for your trip on Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal rail services, light rail and Sydney Ferries. This means you can now tap on and tap off on these services using contactless-enabled American Express, Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards displaying the contactless symbol contactless, an Opal card or an Opal single trip ticket.

1 What are contactless transport payments and where can I use them?

Contactless payments allow you to pay one standard (peak) Adult Opal fare by tapping most American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit /debit cards and digital wallets on an Opal reader before and after you travel. Prepaid cards will not be accepted.

 

Contactless payments are now available on:

  • Sydney Trains
  • NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal rail services (not coach services)
  • light rail; and
  • Sydney Ferries services.

Transport for NSW does not currently offer contactless payments on any bus, private ferry or NSW TrainLink Regional services.

2 Which cards can I use for contactless payments?

Most American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit and debit cards displaying the contactless payment symbol can be used (prepaid cards will not be accepted). If you're not sure if your card is contactless-enabled, check with your card issuer.

3 How much do contactless transport fares cost?

Contactless fares are now the same price as a standard (peak) Adult Opal fare for the same trip. Opal Daily, Weekly and Sunday Caps are also applied, making contactless fares more attractive than before. However, customers should be aware that other Opal benefits such as Weekly Travel Rewards, Transfer Discounts, Off-peak train fares and Trip Advantage are not available with contactless payments. See transportnsw.info for specific fare pricing.

 

* If you use a credit card that was issued overseas to make a contactless transport payment, your card issuer may charge you a foreign transaction fee in addition to the cost of your fare. Contact your card issuer if you have questions about their fees and charges.

4 How do I use a credit/debit card to pay my fare?
  • Take the card you wish to pay with out of your wallet to ensure your fare is charged to the right account.
  • Tap your card on the Opal reader before you board the train, ferry or light rail.
  • Tap off with the same card you tapped on with when you reach your destination. The only exception is on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay service, which is a tap on only service.
5 How do I use a phone, tablet, watch or wearable device to pay my fare?

Use your digital device to pay your fare the same way as you would use it to make any retail transaction.

 

  • Select the card you want to use in your digital wallet before approaching the Opal reader, just as you would for any retail transaction.
  • Before you board, hold your device over the Opal reader until it shows a ‘Tap success’ message to signify that your payment has been accepted. Different devices have their NFC chip in different places so check your manufacturer's guide if you are not sure which part of your device to tap on the Opal reader.
  • At the end of your journey, hold the same device you tapped on with over the Opal reader until you see a message confirming that payment has been accepted. You must do this to ensure you are charged the correct fare (except when travelling to/from Manly wharf).

Important: you must ensure your device has enough charge to complete your journey as Authorised Officers have the right to ask to see your ticket – in this case, the device you tapped on with – at any time. If you cannot produce your ticket for inspection by an Authorised Officer you may be fined up to $550. 

6 What is the maximum fine for fare evasion?

Authorised Officers can issue on the spot fines of $200 for fare evasion. If the customer elects to take the matter to court and is unsuccessful, the maximum they can be fined for fare evasion is $550.

7 How do I avoid card clash?

Opal readers will debit one card or device each time you tap on so it is important to separate your cards to ensure the right one is read. Whether you intend to continue using your Opal card or start using a contactless card, make sure you only present one Opal card, credit / debit card or digital device to the Opal reader. If you tap your wallet or bag on the Opal reader and it contains more than one contactless payment card*, it may read one card at the start of your trip and a different card when you tap off. This is known as ‘card clash’ and may result in you being charged for two separate trips instead of one.


AVOID CARD CLASH - ONLY TAP ONE CARD ON THE OPAL READER


* Opal cards, ATM cards and most credit and debit cards are all contactless payment cards. Remove the card you wish to pay with from your wallet and present it alone to the Opal reader to ensure you are charged correctly.
 

8 How do I work out if contactless transport payments are right for me?

Contactless payments are a convenient alternative to Adult Opal cards and Adult Opal single trip tickets for Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal rail services, Sydney Ferries and light rail services*. Just tap your contactless credit / debit card or device on an Opal reader at the start and finish of your trip.


While some (but not all) Opal card benefits now apply to contactless fare payments, Opal cards remain the cheapest option for regular commuters who use more than one mode of transport per trip, make more than eight trips a week or are Child / Youth, Gold Senior / Pensioner or Concession Opal card holders. The table below will help you work out if contactless payments are right for you.


* Transport for NSW does not offer contactless payments on any bus services (including rail replacement buses) or any privately operated ferries, including My Fast Ferry (formerly Manly Fast Ferry).

.

  Opal card (from Opal retailer) Contactless payment (credit/debit card or digital device) Opal single trip ticket
I want to pay my fare (I don’t have an Opal card and don’t want to visit an Opal retailer/ticket machine)
I want to travel on a Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal rail service, Sydney Ferries or light rail service
I want to travel by bus or coach Selected buses
I want to use Opal benefits:      
- Standard (peak) Adult Opal fares (based on the distance travelled)
- Daily Travel Cap
- Weekly Travel Cap
- Sunday Cap
- Sydney Airport Station Access Fee payment
- Sydney Airport Station Access Fee Weekly Travel Cap
- Transfer discount (applies to transfers made within 60 mins)
- Opal Trip Advantage (transfers on the same mode of transport within 60 mins count as a single journey/fare)
- Opal Park & Ride (free car park access)
- 30% discount off-peak train fares
- 50% off after 8 trips/week
I want to access Child/Youth fares
I want to access Concession or Gold Senior/Pensioner fares
I want to pay for more than one person using one card*
9 What are the top four tips for using contactless transport payments?
  • Avoid card clash – only tap the card or device you wish to pay with on the Opal reader. Do not tap your whole bag or wallet.
  • You can only pay for one standard (peak) Adult Opal fare per person per card or device, per trip. You cannot pay multiple fares using the same card or device. Each passenger must have their own separate card or device. If you’re travelling with children, please buy them an Opal single trip ticket from a ticket machine or get a Child / Youth Opal card from an Opal retailer.
  • You must tap on and tap off using the same card or device or you will be charged the maximum fare, except on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay service, which is a tap on only service.
  • Some, but not all, Opal card benefits now apply to contactless fare payments. See question 8 to work out which payment method is best for you.
10 How else can I pay for an Adult ticket for a train, ferry or light rail service?

There are now three ways to pay for an Adult fare on Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal rail services, Sydney Ferries and light rail services. You can tap on and tap off on these services using your:

  • contactless American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit / debit card (or linked digital device,
  • Opal card, or
  • Opal single trip ticket.

Please remember that you must tap on and tap off at an Opal reader every time you travel. If you do not, you will be charged a default (maximum) fare and may be fined for fare evasion. You must use the same card or device to start and finish your trip.

11 Can I transfer to a different service on the same contactless fare?

Each contactless payment is valid for one unbroken trip on one mode of transport. If you tap off and transfer to another service or mode of transport you are starting a new trip, which you will be charged separately for. Transport for NSW does not offer contactless payments on any bus, coach or private ferry service.

 

Contactless payments are not available on any replacement services. The easiest way to travel is with an Opal card.

 

Opal cards and Opal single trip (train) tickets are accepted on Station Link rail replacement services. See transportnsw.info to order an Opal card or click here to view a map showing your closest Opal retailer or single trip ticket machine.

12 How do I know if I have tapped on or tapped off successfully?

If you successfully tapped on or off you will hear a bell sound and the words 'Tap success' will appear on a green screen on the Opal reader.

 

You can only pay for one contactless fare per card, per trip.
13 Who are contactless transport payments best for?

 

Consider contactless payments if you… You may prefer to use an Opal card if you…
Are a tourist / don’t use public transport often Are a regular commuter
Do not catch buses or coaches Catch buses or coaches
Are a full fare paying adult not entitled to discounted travel Are entitled to Child / Youth, Gold Senior / Pensioner or Concession travel
Don’t have / forgot to top up your Opal card Don’t have a credit / debit card
Travel straight from A to B (you don’t break your journey or transfer to another mode of public transport) Usually transfer from one mode of transport to another to complete your journey
Sometimes exceed Opal Daily / Weekly caps or use the Sunday Cap Regularly use Opal benefits such as Daily / Weekly / Sunday caps, off-peak train fares, Transfer Discounts and Weekly Travel Rewards
Usually make fewer than 8 trips per week Often make more than 8 trips per week

 

14 What happens if I try to use the same card or device to tap on twice on the same trip?

You can only pay for one contactless fare per card or device, per trip. If you tap your credit card or device more than once within 30 seconds you will see an ‘Already tapped on’ message after the first tap.

 

However, if you tap on, wait 30 seconds or more then use the same card or device to tap on again, you will see the ‘Tap Success’ message but you have actually reversed your initial tap. This means you have not paid your fare, which may result in a fine of up to $550 for travelling without a valid ticket.

 

15 My partner and I each have a credit card linked to the same joint account. Can we each use our own card to make contactless transport payments?

Yes. You can each pay for one individual standard (peak) Adult fare per card, per trip.

16 Can I tap on using a credit/debit card to pay a Child/Youth, Concession or Gold Senior/Pensioner fare?

No. Standard (peak) Adult Opal fares will always be charged when a contactless payment card or device is used. If you wish to pay a Child / Youth fare you should buy a Child / Youth Opal single trip ticket from a ticket machine or get a Child / Youth Opal card from an Opal retailer or Transport Customer Service Centre. Visit transportnsw.info to order Concession or Gold Senior / Pensioner Opal cards.

17 How can I prove that I have paid my fare using a credit/debit card or digital device?

If asked, you must present the contactless card or device you tapped on or tapped off with to an Authorised Officer. They will scan your card or device in your presence to confirm if you are using your card or device correctly.

18 Do I have to show my credit/debit card or digital device to an Authorised Officer if asked?

Authorised Officers have the right to ask to see your ticket, which includes the card or device card or device you tapped on with, at any time. If you cannot produce your ticket for inspection you may be fined up to $550.

 

Authorised Officers may also:

  • Request your name and address*
  • Ask to see evidence which confirms your identity and address
  • Call the Police to verify your name and address

* If you do not comply with this request, you may be issued with a Caution or Penalty Notice.

19 Do Authorised Officers see my personal information or credit/debit card details when they scan my card?

If an Authorised Officer scans your contactless payment card or device they can only see information they need to confirm that you have correctly tapped on or tapped off.

 

They cannot see:

  • your credit / debit account details or your address
  • your credit / debit card statement
  • retail transactions (except the last 10 contactless transport fare transactions on this account).

They can see:

  • if your card / digital wallet is valid and accepted for contactless transport payments
  • where you tapped on or tapped off
  • the fare you paid if the check is conducted after you have tapped off
  • details of your last 10 contactless transport transactions.

This information is visible for a very limited time. A series of safety protocols is used, including end-to-end encryption, to ensure contactless transport payments and fare compliance checks are processed in line with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) .

20 How do I know the information collected during a Revenue Protection check will remain secure?

Authorised Officers will only scan contactless cards / devices using the official, Transport for NSW revenue protection application. This application applies a series of safety protocols including end-to-end encryption, to ensure contactless transport payments and fare compliance checks are processed in line with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

21 How can I recognise Authorised Officers?

Authorised Officers patrol Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink services in groups of two or more and can be recognised by their distinctive uniform and badge.

22 What happens when an Authorised Officer scans my contactless card or device?

A fare compliance check will have one of three outcomes:

 

  1. All clear: fare payment has been confirmed. You do not need to do anything.
     
  2. Overnight check needed: fare payment cannot be confirmed at this time so a check will be conducted overnight. Don’t worry! If you tapped on for this service with this card or device, nothing will happen. However, if you did not tap on with this card or device you will be charged a default (maximum) fare.
     
  3. Non-compliance detected: the card or device presented to the Authorised Officer was not used to tap on for this service or cannot be used for contactless transport payments because:
    1. it is expired or invalid or
    2. there is an outstanding transport fare debt owing on this card or device or
    3. there is a record of two or more prior fare evasion attempts using this card or device in the last 12 months*.
    * In non-compliance scenarios i) and ii) above, you may be issued a caution or an infringement. In scenario 3, in addition to receiving an infringement, this card and any other cards or devices linked to this card will not be accepted for Transport for NSW contactless transport payments for 12 months.

See question 32 to see how you can clear an outstanding contactless transport payment debt.

23 I tapped on with a contactless card or device before travelling. Why was I charged a default fare?

You may be charged a default (maximum) fare for several reasons, including:

  • You did not tap on at the start of your trip and tap off again at the end of your trip.
  • You tapped on with one card or device and tapped off with another.
  • Card clash - you did not separate your Opal and contactless cards i.e. you tapped a bag or wallet containing more than one contactless card or device in it on the Opal reader and a card you did not mean to pay with has been charged.
  • You presented a different card or device to an Authorised Officer to the one you tapped on or off with for that trip.
  • An overnight revenue protection check found that you were travelling without a valid ticket.
24 How will the transaction be processed and when will I be charged?

After you tap on at the Opal reader at the train station, ferry wharf or light rail stop, a $1 pending transaction may appear on your statement or device for each trip taken. When fares are settled by your bank (processing times may vary), any pending transactions will be replaced with individual charges for each trip taken, accompanied by a description on your statement that says ‘Transport for NSW travel’.

 

Example
You tap on with your credit card before boarding a train. You tap off and exit the paid area before tapping on and boarding a different service. As you are taking two trips, you will see two $1 pending transactions on your statement. These will be replaced with two separate Adult Opal fares when your bank settles the funds.

 

Transport for NSW processes payments at 4am the day after travel has taken place so you may see delayed transactions or fare adjustments on your statement up to seven business days after you travelled. This is normal and may occur for various reasons, including when you qualify for an Opal Daily, Weekly or Sunday Travel Cap.

25 Why don't the transaction details on my statement match when I travelled?

Transactions appear on customers’ statements after they have been processed by their financial institution. Institution processing times differ so the transaction date on your statement may not be the exact date that you travelled.

26 How do I query a charge?

If you believe you have been charged an incorrect fare, first visit transportnsw.info to familiarise yourself with the contactless transport payment fare rules as they are different to Opal fare rules.

 

If an incorrect fare has been charged, customers can lodge a Contactless Transport Payments Reimbursement Form in line with the Opal Refunds and Balance Transfer Policy.

 

If customers believe their card has been used fraudulently they should contact the issuing bank immediately.

27 What happens if I decide not to travel after I've tapped on?

If you decide not to travel but you’ve already tapped on, simply present the same card or device you tapped on with a second time to the Opal card reader at your point of departure within 15 minutes for light rail travel and within 30 minutes for trains and ferries. This will reverse your tap on.

 

A pending charge of $1.00 will appear on your statement but this will be removed overnight and you will not be charged. If concerned, please check your bank statement to verify that you were not charged incorrectly. If an incorrect fare has been charged, download and lodge a Contactless Transport Payments Reimbursement Form.

28 Can I use contactless payments to pay for buses or coaches replacing train, ferry or light rail services?

No. Contactless payments are not available on any replacement services. The easiest way to travel is with an Opal card.

 

Opal cards and Opal single trip (train) tickets are accepted on Station Link rail replacement services. See transportnsw.info to order an Opal card or click here to view a map showing your closest Opal retailer or single trip ticket machine.

29 Why might my credit/debit card not work at the Opal reader?

If you don’t see the green ‘Tap Success’ message when you tap on and off, it may be because the card or device was not properly presented to the Opal reader. Try tapping on again. If it still doesn’t work, you will see a red ‘Card Not Valid’ message indicating that the card was rejected.

 

Reasons why your card may not work:

  • Reason 84: your card has expired.
  • Reason 87: your card is old or does not support contactless payments.
  • Reason 88: your card has been reported lost or stolen; or had insufficient funds available to cover your contactless transport fare last time you used it to tap on or tap off; or has failed at least two revenue protection inspections in the last 12 months. In this final scenario, your card and any other cards or devices linked to it will not be accepted for Transport for NSW contactless transport payments for 12 months.
  • Reason 89: your credit or debit card scheme may not be participating in this trial.
  • You have tried to make a contactless payment on a service that is not participating in the trial.

If your card is not working you can ask for help from a member of staff, however it is likely you will need to contact your card issuer to resolve the issue.

30 What should I do if my card is declined when I try to tap on at an Opal reader and see a 'Reason 87 - card not valid' message?

If you see this message there are several things you can do. To travel immediately you will need to obtain an Opal card from an Opal retailer or Opal single trip ticket from a ticket machine.

 

You can also:

  • Try tapping on again, making sure you present your card or device to the Opal reader properly.
  • Ensure your card is enabled for contactless payments - look for the contactless payment symbol (prepaid cards will not be accepted).
  • Check that the card has not expired.
  • If it’s a new card, make sure it has been activated and used successfully for a retail purchase.
31 What should I do if my card is declined due to insufficient funds?

If your card had insufficient funds available to cover your contactless transport fare last time you used it, the next time you try to tap on at an Opal reader it will be declined. To travel immediately, you will need to obtain an Opal card from a retail outlet or an Opal Adult single trip ticket from a ticket machine.

 

Before you can use this card for contactless transport payments again you will need to return it to good standing, which may mean ensuring your account has sufficient funds to cover travel. You can then tap on with your card at an Opal reader at any Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink, light rail or Sydney Ferries location to trigger payment of the outstanding fare.

 

It may take up to 15 minutes from your tap on for the previous fare to be cleared, after which, you will be able to use that card to travel again.

 

Alternatively, if you transfer money to your account within nine calendar days, Transport for NSW will automatically deduct the outstanding fare from your account and you will be able to use your card or device for contactless transport payments again.

32 What if I forget to tap on or tap off?

When travelling on public transport, you must tap on and tap off* with your contactless credit/debit card or linked device for every trip or the system will assume that the maximum distance has been travelled and deduct a default (maximum) fare.

 

* Customers travelling on the Sydney Ferries Manly service do not need to tap off.

33 What is the purpose of the contactless payments trial?

Transport for NSW is extending the contactless transport payments trial to test the performance of this technology on more modes of public transport. The integration of contactless payments into the Opal ticketing system is about offering greater choice and convenience, providing another way to access public transport and allowing you to pay as you go using cards you already carry. Contactless payments also help reduce ticket machine queues, congestion and ‘accidental’ fare evasion.

34 When will contactless payments be available on buses?

Transport for NSW is testing the technology to ensure we can offer the best possible customer experience before we decide if contactless payments are suitable for use on buses.

35 Will contactless card payments replace Opal cards?

Contactless payments offer another way to pay for a standard (peak) Adult Opal fare on Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal rail services, Sydney Ferries and light rail services. Opal cards remain the primary, most economical ticket for regular public transport users in NSW.

36 Will my personal information and payment details remain secure when I pay a fare with a contactless card or device?

When you pay your fare using a contactless card or device, the Opal reader applies a series of safety protocols including end-to-end encryption, to ensure contactless payments and fare compliance checks are processed in line with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

37 Where can I find out more about contactless payments?

For more information:

Employees on stations, wharves and light rail stops can provide general information about the trial and support for customers experiencing problems tapping on or off with a contactless payment card.