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How to use contactless

Contactless payments are another way to pay for all public transport in the Opal network.

Use the same contactless card or device for all your travel all week to pay Adult Opal fares and to receive the same travel benefits of an Adult Opal card.

How to use

1. Use the same card or linked device, every time

You must tap on and tap off with the same card or linked device for all your travel all week to receive the same travel benefits and rewards of an Adult Opal card.

For example, don't tap on with an iPhone and tap off with an Apple Watch, or switch between your card and linked devices throughout the week. If you do, you may be charged two maximum default fares and you will miss out on Opal benefits.

2. Separate your cards

Remember to keep your contactless and Opal cards separate when tapping on and off at the Opal readers to avoid card clash.

Only tap on and tap off with the card or device you wish to use on the Opal reader. To make sure your payment comes off the card you want, separate it from your other cards before you tap on or tap off the Opal reader.

3. Always tap on and tap off

When tapping on and off, you should hear the bell sound and the words 'Tap success' will appear on a green screen on the Opal reader.

If you forget to tap on or to tap off:

4. Use one contactless card or device per person

You can only pay for one Adult Opal fare per card or device. If you’re travelling in a family or a group, each person must have their own card or device to travel, otherwise, they’ll need to pay using an Opal card or single trip ticket. Find out more.

5. Make sure you have enough battery

If you are paying with a phone or watch, make sure your device has enough charge to tap off otherwise you'll pay the maximum default fare. If you cannot produce your ticket for inspection by an Authorised Officer you may be issued with a fine of $200 (Maximum $550).

Look for the contactless symbol on your card

If your Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit or debit card shows the contactless payment symbol, you can use it to pay for your travel. You'll pay an Adult Opal fare.

Check with your card issuer if you're not sure if your card is contactless-enabled or if it's rejected.

Overseas-issued cards

If you use an overseas-issued card your card issuer may charge overseas transaction fees.

To use your contactless device at Opal readers, you will need to link it to your American Express, Mastercard or Visa card before you travel, then tap using your digital wallet.

Rejected cards

Having trouble? See our list of reasons your contactless payment card may not work.

How to use

Read our guide on how to travel with contactless

To use your contactless device at Opal readers, you will need to link it to your American Express, Mastercard or Visa card before you travel, then tap using your digital wallet.

Select your card

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

Check battery

You must ensure your device has enough battery to complete your journey as Authorised Officers have the right to ask to see your ticket – in this case, the card or device you tapped on with – at any time. If you cannot produce your ticket for inspection by an Authorised Officer you may be issued with a fine of $200 (Maximum $550).

Rejected devices

Having trouble? See our list of reasons your device may not work.

How to use

Read our guide on how to travel with contactless

You will be charged an Adult Opal fare and receive all the same travel benefits of an Adult Opal card when you tap on and tap off with a contactless card or device.

Benefits include:

  • $2 discount for every transfer between modes as part of one journey
  • Half price travel after eight paid journeys in a week
  • Fares capped daily, weekly and on Sundays
  • 30% discount on train fares outside peak times

Find out more about Opal benefits.

Note:

  • Contactless cards and devices cannot be used to access Transport Park&Ride car parks, or to pay On Demand public transport fares.
  • For Child/Youth, Concession or Senior/Pensioner fares you will need a valid Opal card. Get an Opal card.

How fares are calculated

Like Opal card fares, contactless fares are calculated according to the distance you travelled – from where you tap on to where you tap off, and are calculated at the end of your journey.

How payments are processed

After you tap on, a pre-authorisation $1 charge will appear as a pending transaction on your statement. As you travel throughout the day, fares will be accumulated and the total cost of the day’s travel will be processed at the end of each day. The total cost will replace the $1 charge.

The description on your credit or debit card statement will appear as ‘TransportforNSW Tap’ or ‘TransportforNSW travel Sydney’. The date the payment on your statement appears may vary from the actual travel date depending on your bank’s processing time.

Fare estimates

You can estimate your fare before you travel using the Trip Planner or the Opal Travel app.

You will need to use a different card or device or other method of payment for each person.

Travel in a group

You can only pay for one Adult Opal fare with a contactless card or device.

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

Find out more about group travel and tapping on and off

Joint account holders

If you have a joint account, you are both able to use your different contactless payment card or device to travel.

This is because if you link a payment card to a device, both the card and device are considered to be different payment ‘tokens’. That means that one person can travel using the card and one person can travel using a linked device at the same time. Both ‘tokens’ will be treated as separate devices, meaning that the day and week caps apply to each.

You must each tap on and tap off with different cards or devices to pay for one fare, per card, per trip.

You can travel at the same time and each card or device will be charged separately.

If you decide not to travel after tapping on, 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 metro, train and ferry travel, just as you would with an Opal card.

Find out more about tapping on and tapping off.

Every time you tap on, you need to tap off at your destination stop, to complete your trip.

If you forget to tap on or to tap off with the same card or device, you will be charged the default fare for an incomplete trip.

Incomplete trips are not counted towards the Weekly Travel Reward.

Make sure you have enough battery left in your device to complete a trip.

Why doesn't my card or device work?

If the card or device is still not recognised, this means there is an issue with the card you are trying to pay with. The Opal reader will display a ‘Card Not Valid’ message with an error number.

Below is a list of error numbers and an explanation of what they mean:

  • 87: The card is old and does not have the features to support contactless payments for transport.
  • 88: The card has insufficient funds, or has been reported lost or stolen. Outstanding fares for any prior travel also need to be settled before the same card or device can be used again to travel. You can settle outstanding payments here.
  • 89: You are trying to use a pre-paid card or your credit or debit card may not be accepted in the Opal network.
  • 91: You are either using a card other than Amex, Mastercard or Visa, or you are using a card that is not contactless-enabled.
  • Try again - use one card only: The reader has detected more than one contactless payment card or Opal card. Please separate your cards before you tap on and tap off.

You'll need to contact your card issuer for any of the above issues or if you’re unclear why the card was declined.

You can still use an Opal card, Opal single trip ticket or a different contactless card to travel.

Card clash happens when you tap with more than one card at the same time.

Make sure you keep your contactless credit or debit cards and your Opal cards separate and not in the same purse, wallet or phone case when tapping on and off an Opal reader.

Only tap on and tap off with the card you wish to use on the Opal reader.

If the Opal reader detects more than one card:

  • You could be charged two maximum default fares for your trip - one card when you tapped on and another card when you tapped off
  • It could take payment from the wrong card
  • It might not make a payment, and you won't be travelling with a valid ticket, so you may be charged a fine
  • The gates may not open

Tips to avoid card clash:

  • Don't tap on or tap off with a wallet, purse or phone cover containing multiple cards on the Opal reader
  • Keep your Opal card separate from your contactless credit or debit cards
  • Only tap on and tap off with the card you wish to use on the Opal reader

Contactless information

Authorised Officers and NSW Police officers are responsible for ensuring ticketing compliance and patrolling public transport. They 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 a valid ticket for inspection you may be issued with a fine of $200 (Maximum $550).

Authorised Officers can be recognised by their distinctive uniform and badge.

If asked, you must present the contactless card or device you tapped on or tapped off with to an Authorised Officer. If you present a card or device that was not used to tap, it will result in a failed check (even if the device is linked to the contactless card used, and vice versa).

They will scan your card or device in your presence to confirm if you are using your card or device correctly.

When scanning your card or device during a fare compliance check, an Authorised Officer can only see information they need to confirm that you have correctly tapped on or tapped off. They cannot see your credit or debit account details, your address, statement or any retail transactions other than the last 10 contactless transport fare trips on your card or device.

Our Authorised Officers will see one of three results:

  • You are compliant: fare payment has been confirmed and you do not need to do anything.
  • You are not compliant: the card or device presented to the Authorised Officer was not used to tap on or tap off and you may be issued a caution or fine.
  • Overnight check needed: fare payment cannot be confirmed at this time so a check will be conducted overnight. If you are validly ticketed nothing will happen. However, if you are not validly ticketed you will be charged a default fare.

The device used by Authorised Officers to check your Opal or contactless card 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).

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).