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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 the light rail and Sydney Ferries networks. 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 How do I use contactless payments?

Using contactless transport payments is easy:

 

  • Separate your American Express, Mastercard or Visa card from other cards you’re carrying so your fare is charged to the right account.

  • If you’re paying with a device linked to your credit card, select the card you want to use from your digital wallet.

  • Tap on with your card or device at the Opal reader before you board the ferry or light rail.

  • Tap off with the same card or device you tapped on with when you reach your destination to ensure you are charged the correct fare for the distance you have travelled. The only exception to this is on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay service, which is a tap on only service.

2 Who can participate in the trial?

Anyone with an American Express, Mastercard or Visa card displaying the contactless payment symbol  can participate in the trial. 

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

If your tap on or tap off has been successful you will hear a bell sound and the words ‘Payment OK’ will appear on a green screen on the Opal reader. Customers can only pay for one contactless fare per card per trip.

4 Which cards can I use for contactless payments?

Most American Express, Mastercard or Visa cards displaying the contactless payment symbol can be used.

If you're not sure whether your card is contactless-enabled check with your card issuer.
5 What else do I need to know about contactless payments?
  • You can pay for one Adult Opal single trip ticket per person, per card or device. You cannot pass a card you have just used to pay a fare to someone else to pay a second fare.
  • You must tap on and tap off using the same card or device, except on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay service, which is a tap on only service.
  • Opal card benefits such as off-peak fares, Daily Travel Caps, Weekly Travel Rewards and Opal Transfer Benefits do not apply.

If you are a visitor to Australia and use an international credit card to make a contactless transport payment, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee by your card issuer in addition to the cost of your fare. Contact your card issuer if you have questions about their fees and charges. 

6 What is card clash and how can I avoid it?

Opal card readers will only debit one card each time you tap on, but it is important to separate your cards to ensure the right one is read. If you tap on with your whole wallet or bag and it contains more than one contactless card, the Opal reader may debit a card you had not intended to use for this payment. This is known as ‘card clash’. Separate your contactless cards to avoid card clash.

7 Can I use a smartphone, tablet or wearable device to pay?

Yes. Contactless-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearable devices, can be used provided they are linked to an American Express, Mastercard or Visa card.

 

Select the card you want to use from your digital wallet then tap on with your card or device at the Opal reader before boarding the ferry or light rail. Don’t forget to tap off with the same card on the same device when you reach your destination so you are charged the correct fare (except when travelling to/from Manly wharf).

8 What are the benefits of using contactless transport payments?

Contactless payments are a convenient alternative to Adult Opal single trip tickets and mean you can pay your fare with cards or devices you already have. There’s no need to queue to buy a ticket or top up your Opal card, just tap on to pay with your card or device at an Opal reader.

9 Which services accept contactless payments?

Contactless transport payments can be used to pay for Adult Opal single trip ticket fares on all Sydney Ferries and L1 Dulwich Hill light rail services.

 

When catching the ferry or light rail you must tap on at an Opal card reader before you travel. If you do not, you may be fined for fare evasion. You must also tap off at the end of your trip or you will be charged the maximum fare (except on the F1 Manly to Circular service which is a tap on only service).

 

Transport for NSW contactless payments are not available on any train or bus services, or on any privately operated ferries, such as MyFastFerry (formerly Manly Fast Ferry). 

 

10 Who are contactless payments best for?

If you are a tourist, or if you don’t use public transport often, you may prefer to use contactless payments instead of buying an Adult Opal single trip ticket from a machine. Contactless payments are also a convenient option if you have forgotten to top up or misplaced your Opal card.

11 Can I use one credit/debit card to pay for my family and friends?

No. You can only pay for one Adult Opal single trip ticket fare per contactless card, per trip. This means each passenger needs to use their own contactless-enabled card. If you are travelling with people who do not have these cards or if you wish to purchase Child/Youth single trip tickets, please visit a ticket machine.

12 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 payment?

Yes. You can each pay for one individual Adult Opal single trip ticket fare per card, per trip.

13 Can I tap on with a contactless-enabled card to pay a Child/Youth, Concession or Senior/Pensioner fare?

No. Only Adult Opal single trip ticket fares can be purchased using contactless payments. 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. Find out how to order Concession or Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal cards.

14 How much do contactless transport payments cost?

The cost of a one-way fare using contactless payment is the same as an Adult Opal single trip ticket, with pricing based on the distance travelled. Go to transportnsw.info for current fare information. 

15 How will the transaction be processed and when will I be charged?

After you tap on at the Opal reader at the 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 indicating that the amount relates to Transport for NSW travel.

 

Example

You tap on with your credit card at Manly Wharf and travel to Circular Quay. You then tap on and board another ferry to Taronga Zoo. As you have taken two ferry trips, you will see two $1 pending transactions on your statement. These will be replaced by the relevant Adult Opal single trip ticket fares when your bank settles the funds.

 

You may see delayed transactions or fare adjustments on your statement up to seven business days after you travelled. This is normal. If you wish to query the charge please contact your card issuer after seven business days have passed.

16 How do I query a charge?

If you have a query about a charge against your card, you should contact the issuing bank first. If they determine the charge is valid but you believe the charge warrants further investigation, you should contact Opal Customer Care.

17 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 a second time to the Opal card reader at your departure station gate, wharf of light rail stop within 15 minutes for light rail travel and within 30 minutes for ferries.

 

A pending charge of $1.00 will appear on your statement. This will be removed overnight and no charge will appear on your statement. 

18 What happens if my card is declined?

Sometimes payments are declined by your card issuer. If this happens you may need to contact your card issuer to reauthorise your card before you can use it again to make contactless transport payments.

 

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 reactivating a blocked card or ensuring your account has sufficient funds to cover travel. You can then tap on with your card at an Opal reader at any light rail or Sydney Ferries location to trigger payment of the outstanding fare.

 

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

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

If you don’t see the green ‘Payment Card OK’ message when you tap on, 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:

 

  • Your card is old or does not support contactless payments

  • Your card has expired

  • Your credit or debit card scheme may not be participating in this trial

  • Your card had insufficient funds available to cover your contactless transport fare last time you used it

If your card is not working you can ask for help from ferry or light rail staff, however it is likely you will need to contact your card issuer to resolve the issue.

20 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 or the system will assume that the maximum distance has been travelled and therefore deduct a default fare.

 

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

21 What is the purpose of the contactless payments trial?

Transport for NSW is conducting this trial of contactless payment cards to test the technology that makes it possible to tap on to pay at Opal card readers, instead of buying Adult Opal single trip tickets from ticket machines, for travel on Sydney Ferries and L1 Dulwich Hill Light Rail services. 

22 When will contactless payments be available on other services and modes of transport?

Contactless payments are currently being offered as a trial on all Sydney Ferries and on L1 Dulwich Hill Light Rail services to test the technology and ensure we can offer the best possible customer experience before we decide if this payment method is suitable for use on other modes of transport. 

23 Will contactless card payments replace Opal cards?

Contactless card payments are an alternative way to pay for Adult Opal single trip ticket fares on Sydney Ferries and L1 Dulwich Hill light rail services. Opal cards will remain the primary ticketing platform for public transport in NSW.

24 Will my personal information and payment details remain secure?

Transport for NSW does not collect or record customers' personal information when they tap on or off with a credit/debit card or linked device. A series of safety protocols is used, including end-to-end data encryption, to ensure contactless transport payments are processed in line with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

25 Where can I find out more about the contactless payment trial?

Sydney Ferries and light rail staff can provide general information about the trial and support for customers if contactless payment cards are not accepted at Opal card reader.