Sydney (and NSW) trains commuters can now use their contactless payment options to travel on TfNSW trains around Sydney and across New South Wales. Passengers can use MasterCard, VISA and American Express contactless cards to tap on and tap off instead of the Opal Card.
Better still, and relevantly for us: digital wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay and others can be used too.
The card networks are pretty excited about the change. Axel Boye-Moller, VISA’s Head of Product (Australia) had this to say:
In Australia, tapping your phone, card or wearable has become synonymous with paying. In fact, 94% of Visa’s face-to-face transactions in Australia are contactless, and we’re seeing more people frequently using their mobiles to pay, particularly for daily purchases such as transport.
The expansion of contactless payments to TfNSW’s train network will make the Sydney transport experience quicker and more convenient for locals and tourists alike.
The move comes after six months or so of beta testing on some of Sydney’s Ferries. However, the service offered today isn’t quite the same; the trial didn’t allow travel caps or bonuses, whereas from today, commuters can access the benefits of daily, weekly and Sunday travel caps. Weekly travel discount, concessions and the transfer discount won’t be available to commuters using their credit or debit cards, and remain the exclusive domain of Opal users.
For Sydney commuters who’d like to try the service, we’ve put together some top tips to make sure your trip is enjoyable and hassle-free:
- If your mobile is almost flat, use a plastic card or an Opal. There’s no point tapping on for your phone to go flat; you’ll be unable to prove you’ve tapped on, and may incur a fine.
- If you’re travelling in a group, everyone has to use their own card. Equally, if you’re travelling with kids, seniors or concession card holders, they’ll need to use Opal cards to benefit from discounted fares.
- Be careful to tap on and off with the same card – don’t use a different one, or you’ll pay the maximum fare for your trip, regardless of distance.
- If you’re tapping on with your wallet, be careful to only tap with one card. You might need to take your card out of your wallet (or move it to a side without other contactless cards) to minimise any hassles.
We’ve used a very similar system in London (upon which the TfNSW system is modelled) with Google Pay, and it works very, very well. Of course, the system is ultimately intended to be of most use to irregular commuters, visitors or tourists – regular commuters will derive many more benefits from using their Opal cards.