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How to use contactless

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

You can use a contactless credit or debit card or linked device for Adult Opal fares and travel benefits.

How to use

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.

Tap on and tap off with your credit or debit card at the start and end of your trip. You must tap off at the end of your trip using the same card that you tapped on with. The only exception is on the F1 Manly to Circular Quay service, which is a tap on only service.

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 have more than one contactless card, make sure you are aware of card clash and separate your cards before tapping.

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

Many contactless cards issued outside Australia can be used to pay your fare but overseas transaction fees may apply.

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

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

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

Before you travel, 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 battery 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 issued with a fine of $200 (Maximum $550).

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.

Contactless payments are charged the same as an Adult Opal fare.

Travel as much as you like using the same contactless card or device, and you will get the same benefits of an Adult Opal card.

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

If you use a credit card that was issued overseas, your card issuer may charge you a foreign transaction fee as well.

Find out how fares are calculated.

  • Always use the same contactless card or linked device to tap on and tap off to pay the right fare for your trip. For example, don't tap on with an iPhone and tap off with an Apple Watch. If you do, you may be charged two maximum default fares and you will miss out on Opal benefits.
  • Always tap on and tap off or you will be charged the maximum default fare.
  • Watch out for card clash by keeping your contactless and Opal cards separate when tapping on and tapping off. 
  • Make sure you have enough battery 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).

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

Get the same Opal benefits of an Adult Opal card when you travel with the same contactless card or linked device on metro/train, bus, ferry or light rail. 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.

Why doesn't my card or device work

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

Try separating the card you want to pay with and tapping on again.

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

Card clash happens when you tap on 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. 
  • If 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.

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).

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 therefore calculated at the end of your journey.

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 appears may vary from the actual travel date depending on your bank’s processing time.