How to use your credit and debit cards to tap on public transport

Amex, Visa and Mastercard cardholders can ditch their Opal cards to tap on and off ferries and light rail trips in Sydney.

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In March 2018, Opal gave Sydney commuters a new way to tap on and off with a contactless payments trial. You can pay for Adult Opal single trip ticket fares on Sydney Ferries and Inner West Light Rail services by tapping their American Express card, Mastercard credit card or debit card and mobile wallet at the Opal reader. For Mastercard and Visa cardholders, you can take advantage of this new partnership regardless of which institution you bank with.

If your card is linked to a digital wallet on your smartphone or another device, you can also use this to tap on at the Opal reader.

Not only does it mean that your wallet may be lighter, it also means you won’t be stranded without a means of tapping on and off if you leave your Opal card at home or if you're travelling interstate. Plus, if you’re using a frequent flyer or rewards credit card, you can also earn points on every $1 you spend on your travel costs.

How to make the most of your American Express travel credit.

Compare Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards

Rates last updated August 23rd, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate Product Description
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$50 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
Ongoing Annual Fee Discount & Bonus Points
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
St.George Vertigo Classic - Exclusive Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months
Introductory Purchase Rate and $0 Annual Fee Offer*
Finder Exclusive:
Low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 14 months and on balance transfers for 6 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
Annual Fee Refund & Balance Transfer Offer*
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 14 months
Platinum Credit Card with a Low Interest Rate *
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months
Low Rate Platinum Credit Card Offer
Features a long-term 0% balance transfer offer, $49 first year annual fee and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Bonus Points & Balance Transfer Offer
Get up to 120,000 bonus rewards Points when you meet the spend requirements. Plus, save with a $49 first year annual fee.
Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard
21.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
International Shopping Credit Card
Save with 0% foreign transaction fees on purchases. Plus, complimentary flight delay passes, global wifi access and a concierge service.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$58 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
Long-Term Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee. Plus a low 12.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn 0.5 Qantas points per $1 spent.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% for 13 months, reverts to 20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 13 months
0% p.a. Purchase & Balance Transfer Offers*
Finder Exclusive:
Save with 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months (with no BT fee). Plus, a discounted $49 annual fee for the first year.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months
Up to 75,000 bonus Velocity Points Offer*
Earn up to 75,000 bonus Velocity Points and save with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, a long-term balance transfer offer.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Low Rate Credit Card*
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers, plus a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. on purchases.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Balance Transfer and First Year Annual Fee Offer
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus $0 first year annual fee.
BOQ Low Rate Visa Credit Card
13.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
A no-frills card offering 0% on balance transfers for the first 14 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a competitive purchase interest rate.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$55 p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
Low Annual Fee with Balance Transfer Offer*
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate.
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$69 p.a.
Low Rate Credit Card Offer*
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
BOQ Platinum Visa Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 12 months
Enjoy 1,000 bonus Q Rewards points monthly when you meet the spend requirement, a 12-month balance transfer offer and $0 first year annual fee.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 20 months
Discounted First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Finder Exclusive ends 31 August 2019:
Save with a 0% balance transfer offer and a $49 first year annual fee when you apply online.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card - Exclusive Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
Finder Exclusive:
Earn 10,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply before 17 September 2019 and spend at least $750 within the first 3 months of card approval.
Westpac Low Rate Card
2019 Winner
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$59 p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
0% p.a. Balance Transfer Offer*
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
Annual Fee Refund & Balance Transfer Offer*
0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a yearly annual fee refund when you spend $6,000 and 2 lounge passes per year.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$295 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Bonus Qantas Points Offer*
Collect up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 90,000 when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30,000 after 12 months.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% for 14 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% for 14 months Purchase Offer with Virgin Australia Gift Voucher*
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months, a reduced first year annual fee and Velocity Points per $1 spent.

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As you can only use your card for eligible Adult Opal single trip ticket fares, you won't be able to take advantage of the usual weekly discount travel reward once you've completed eight paid journeys between Monday and Sunday if you pay with your debit or credit card rather than your Opal card.

For Amex, this partnership further cements its position as a leader in contactless payments in Australia. It was also the first card issuer to offer all three major mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay) to its customers. Amex says this is just the latest initiative to give cardholders more convenient ways to use their cards.

"In the last year, American Express mobile wallet transactions have more than doubled and we expect this trend to continue as more places accept American Express contactless payments,” said Amex Vice President of Consumer Cards, Austin Huntsdale. “Our work with Transport for NSW is a great example of our commitment to growth in contactless acceptance in Australia.”

As our lives become increasingly more digital, the initiative is also a reaction to consumer behaviour and our movement towards a cardless and cashless society.

“Australians have a keen appetite for new ways to pay, including via smartphones and wearables, both of which can now also be used to pay for public transport," said Visa's head of product Axel Boye-Moller. "Recent Visa research found 8 in 10 people would be comfortable using a smartphone for every day payments and 23% of Australians would likely use a smartwatch or other wearable for everyday payments, if they had one."

This partnership also follows Mastercard's successful six month trial in which commuters could use their credit or debit cards to tap on and off the F1 Manly to Circular Quay ferry service in 2017.

“The trial, which began in July 2017, has been a great success and demonstrates how we can apply and adapt technology to simplify customer experiences," said Mastercard division president for Australasia Richard Wormald.

Unfortunately, you can only use your bank card to tap on and off with Sydney Ferries and Inner West Light Rail services at the time of launch. However, there are plans to expand to other modes of public transport in NSW and across Australia in the future.

"We are looking forward to rolling out similar solutions in other states and making Australian cities more connected,” said Wormald.

In 2016, finder reported that NSW Transport was trialling a system that allowed commuters to tap on with credit and debit cards rather than their Opal. Although it hasn’t confirmed any further plans to roll out this system, Amex, Visa and Mastercard's partnership with Transport NSW is likely just the first of many alliances that will give commuters more ways to pay from now on.

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Pictures: American Express and Mastercard

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated August 23rd, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a long-term balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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