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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

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

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:

Remember, 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.

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.

Rejected cards

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

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

Select your card

Before you travel, you need to link your device to your American Express, Mastercard or Visa card. Then tap the Opal reader using your digital wallet.

Make sure you have enough 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).

Use the same device each time

Opal readers will recognise your smart watch and smart phone as two different payment types, even if they’re connected to the same card. Make sure you only tap one device throughout the day so you can earn Opal benefits as you travel.

Rejected devices

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

Like Adult Opal card fares, your contactless fare depends on when, where, and how you are travelling, and any Opal benefits such as discounts and capped fares that apply.

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

Concession fares are not available with contactless payments. If you are eligible for reduced fares, you should get an Opal card. 

Pre-authorisation $1 charge

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.

How fares are processed

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.

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

Contactless cards and devices cannot be used to pay On Demand public transport fares.

You can only pay for one Adult Opal fare per card or device.

Travel in a group

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.

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.

You can reverse your tap within 15 minutes for light rail and within 30 minutes for metro, train and ferry travel.

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

If you believe you have been charged an incorrect fare, find out more about the refund process for contactless.

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 or device 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).

Transport Connect

Transport Connect is a central hub that gives you access to travel rewards and view contactless payment activity. By signing up and linking your contactless credit or debit card, you will be able to:

  • earn travel credit when you use On Demand services and connect with an Opal service.
  • access Transport Park&Ride facilities with an accepted credit or debit card when you travel on public transport. 
  • view your contactless travel activity and expenses all in one place.

Find out more about Transport Connect