amex-opal-pay450x250

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.

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.

Compare Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards

Rates last updated December 10th, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Product Description
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card - Exclusive Offer
19.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$90 p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
25 Month Balance Transfer Offer
finder Exclusive: Take advantage of 0% p.a. interest for 25 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Ends 16 December 2018
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 0% p.a. for 14 months balance transfer and $0 first year annual fee. Plus, insurance covers and Citibank Dining Program perks.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$149 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months
100,000 bonus Qantas Points with Balance Transfer Offer
Get 70,000 bonus Qantas points when you meet the spend criteria and 30,000 more when you pay the second year's annual fee (100,000 total).
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.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. 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.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Online 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 18 months
Discounted First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a 0% balance transfer offer and earn up to 60,000 Bonus Rewards Points. Plus, a discounted first year annual fee when you apply online.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($79 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a long-term balance transfer offer. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
Citi 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 12 months
Bonus Points & Balance Transfer Offer
Earn 10,000 monthly bonus reward Points for 20 months (200,000 total), enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer, plus, a $49 first year annual fee.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Qantas - Exclusive Offer
20.24% p.a.
Up to 45 days on purchases
$50 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter)
Reduced First Year Annual Fee and Bonus Points Offer*
finder Exclusive ends 12 December 2018:
Up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Visa (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$129 p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Annual Fee Refund & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000. Plus, 2 airport lounge passes every year.
Citi Simplicity Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
Low Intro Balance Transfer Interest Rate with No Annual Fee
Get 0% p.a. interest for up to 6 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
0% p.a. 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
Discounted First Year Annual Fee & Purchase Offer*
finder Exclusive: Save on credit card costs with half the annual fee for the first year and a 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases for 14 months.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter)
Low Rate Credit Card Offer*
A no-frills card with a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and a $0 first year annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months
Platinum Credit Card with Balance Transfer Offer
Save with 0% p.a. interest for up to 24 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, platinum perks. Ends 17 December 2018.
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 60,000 bonus Velocity Points Offer*
Earn up to 60,000 bonus points in the first 3 months and save with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, a long-term balance transfer offer.
Qantas Premier Everyday
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 19.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$49 p.a.
0% p.a. for 9 months
0% Purchase and Balance Transfer & Bonus Points Offer
Take advantage of 20,000 bonus Qantas Points, a 0% p.a. purchase and balance transfer offers. Plus, complimentary overseas travel insurance.
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$289 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
Up to 90,000 bonus Velocity Points with Balance Transfer Offer
Take off sooner with up to 90,000 bonus Velocity Points, lounge passes and insurance covers. Plus, enjoy a 15 month balance transfer offer.
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 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 60 days of account opening. Plus, a $295 annual fee in the first year.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Online Offer
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 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 24 months Balance Transfer Offer*
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer offer, plus complimentary international travel insurance.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Reduced First Year Annual Fee & Bonus Points Offer*
Enjoy 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle - Qantas
20.24% p.a.
Up to 45 days on purchases
$499 p.a.
Black Card Bundle with Bonus Points
Up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points with Mastercard (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex). T&Cs apply.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$395 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
100,000 Bonus Points*
Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a 0% for 24 month balance transfer option, first year annual fee waiver and a competitive purchase rate.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$30 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Low Annual Fee and up to 44 days interest-free
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$49 p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
Low Purchase Rate & Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers a $49 annual fee, 10% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months (capped at $100) and 0% p.a. for 14 months on balance transfers.

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

Latest credit cards headlines

Pictures: American Express and Mastercard

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit...

Interest rate

20.74

Annual fee

49*

*$129 p.a. after first year

American Express Westpac Altitude Pla...

Interest rate

20.24

Annual fee

50*

*$249 p.a. after first year

Citi Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive...

Interest rate

20.99

Annual fee

49*

*$149 p.a. after first year

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site