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Contactless payments

Contactless is a quick and easy way to pay for your trip on Sydney Trains or NSW TrainLink Intercity rail services, light rail or on a Sydney Ferries service.

If you have an American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit or debit card or a linked device, you can use it to pay for your travel by tapping on and tapping off at Opal readers on trains, light rail and Sydney Ferries. Just look for the contactless payment symbol /sites/default/files/styles/thumbnail/public/image/2017/07/contactless-symbol.png?itok=KL_eUfMj.

Standard (peak) Adult Opal fare pricing applies. If you consistently use the same contactless card or linked device to tap on and tap off, you may qualify for Opal daily, weekly and Sunday fare caps but no other Opal benefits apply.

If you’re unsure whether your card is contactless-enabled, check with your card issuer.

Using contactless

Contactless payments allow you to pay one standard (peak) Adult Opal fare by tapping most American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit or 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 trains
  • light rail
  • Sydney Ferries services

Contactless payments are currently not available on any bus, private ferry or NSW TrainLink Regional rail or coach services.

When catching the train, ferry or light rail you can tap on at an Opal card reader at the start of your trip where you should hear the bell sound and the words 'Tap success' will appear on a green screen on the Opal reader. You must also tap off at the end of your trip using the same card or device that you tapped on with. The only exception is on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay service, which is a tap on only service.

If you have more than one contactless card, make sure you are aware of card clash.

If you don't tap on and tap off you will be charged the maximum fare. You could also be fined for fare evasion.

You can reverse your tap on by tapping the same card or device on a reader at the same wharf, station or stop within 15 minutes for light rail and within 30 minutes for train and ferry travel, just as you would with an Opal card.

First, select the card you want to use in your digital wallet. You should do this 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.

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 or from Manly wharf).

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.

If your card isn’t recognised the first time you tap on, it may be because the reader has not detected the card, or it has detected more than one card, this is called card clash.

Try tapping on again. If the card still isn’t recognised you will see a ‘Card Not Valid’ message and a number indicating why the card was rejected.

Your card may not work because:

  • there may be insufficient funds available on the contactless card. Outstanding fares for any prior travel also need to be settled before the same card or device can be used again to travel
  • your card is old or does not support contactless payments
  • your card has expired

If your card is not working you can ask for help from staff, however it is likely you will need to contact your card issuer to resolve the issue. You can still use an Opal card or an Opal single trip ticket to travel.

Contactless payments can be a convenient alternative to Adult Opal cards or Adult Opal single trip tickets for Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Opal ticketed rail services, Sydney Ferries and light rail services.

You should consider contactless payments if you:

  • are a tourist or don't use public transport often
  • usually make fewer than 8 trips a week
  • do not catch buses
  • you are an adult and not eligible for a concession fare
  • forgot your Opal card or haven't topped up
  • are travelling direct without transferring to another mode of transport

While some (but not all) Opal card benefits now apply to contactless fare payments, Opal cards remains the cheaper option if you:

Opal benefit Opal card Contactless Opal single trip ticket
Travel by bus Yes No Yes (selected services)
Standard Adult Opal fares
(based on distance travelled)
Yes Yes (peak fares only) No
Daily Travel Cap Yes Yes No
Weekly Travel Cap Yes Yes No
Sunday Cap Yes Yes No
30% discount off peak train fares Yes No No
Transfer discount
(applies to transfers made within 60 mins)
Yes No No
Opal Trip Advantage
(transfers on the same mode of transport within 60 mins count as a single journey)
Yes No No
Opal Park&Ride free car park access Yes No No
50% discount after completing 8 trips per week Yes No No
Airport Access Fee Cap Yes No No
Child/Youth fares available Yes No Yes
Concession, Senior or Pensioner fares available Yes No No
Pay for more than one person using one card No No No

Contactless information

The cost of a fare using the contactless payment option is the same as an equivalent standard (peak) Adult Opal ticket fare for the service you are travelling on. Adult off-peak and Child/Youth and Senior/Pensioner fares are not available using this payment method.

If you are entitled to concession fares, you should travel with a Child/Youth, Concession or Gold Senior/Pensioner Opal card to avoid paying a higher fare.

Opal Daily, Weekly and Sunday Caps are also applied to your contactless payments, however other Opal benefits such as Weekly Travel Rewards, Transfer Discounts, off-peak train fares, Opal Trip Advantage and free access to Park&Ride carparks are not available with contactless payments.

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 bus replacement services. The easiest way to travel in that case is with an Opal card.

Opal cards and Opal single trip (train) tickets are accepted on Station Link rail replacement services. You can order an Opal card or find your closest Opal retailer or single trip ticket machine.

You can only pay for one person per card per trip with contactless. That means if you are travelling in a group, each person will have to use a separate contactless payment card, linked device or other method of payment such as an Opal card or Opal single trip ticket.

Joint account holders can each tap on to pay for one fare, per card, per trip.

Contactless payment cards or devices which have just been used to tap on cannot be handed back for any additional passengers to tap on with.

If you try to use the same card or device to tap on twice within 30 seconds you will see the message 'Already tapped on' and the existing tap on will not be reversed. After 30 seconds if you try to use the same card to tap on again you will see the message 'Tap success', but this will reverse your first tap on. This means you have not paid your fare, which may result in a fine of up to $550 for travelling without a valid ticket.

Find out more about group travel

If asked, you must present the contactless card or device you tapped on or tapped off with to an Authorised Officer.

Authorised Officers patrol public transport services in groups of two or more and can be recognised by their distinctive uniform and badge. They will scan your card or device in your presence to confirm if you are using your card or device correctly.

Authorised Officers have the right to ask to see your ticket, which includes the 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.

A fare compliance check will have one of three outcomes:

All clear
Fare payment has been confirmed. You do not need to do anything.

Overnight check needed
The 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.

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:

  • it is expired or invalid or*
  • there is an outstanding transport fare debt owing on this card or device or*
  • there is a record of two or more prior fare evasion attempts using this card or device in the last 12 months**

* You may be issued a caution or an infringement.

** 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.

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).

If an Authorised Officer scans your contactless payment card or device during a fare compliance check 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).

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).

Refunds and fare adjustments

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

If an incorrect fare has been charged, you can lodge a Contactless Transport Payments Reimbursement Form (pdf 532KB) in line with the Opal Refunds and Balance Transfer Policy (pdf 417KB).

If you believe your card has been used fraudulently you should contact the issuing bank immediately.

How fares are processed

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, 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’.

Institution processing times differ so the transaction date on your statement may not be the exact date that you travelled.

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. If you wish to query the charge please contact your card issuer after seven business days have passed.

Sydney NYE 2016

Visiting Sydney

If you're visiting Sydney and have a contactless-enabled credit or debit card, using it could save you time, because you won't need to get or top up an Opal card or buy an Opal single trip ticket

If your card was issued outside of Australia, overseas transaction charges may apply. Contact your card issuer for more information.

Watch out for card clash

If you have more than one contactless payment card (including your Opal card) remember to separate your cards when you tap on and tap off to ensure your preferred card is charged.

If you tap your purse or wallet containing more than one contactless-enabled payment card (including an Opal card) on an Opal card reader, the reader may debit a card you had not intended to use for this payment, or the gate may not open because multiple cards have been detected. This is known as ‘card clash’.