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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 September 25th, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Product Description
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
Long-Term Balance Transfer Offer
Save with 0% p.a. interest for up to 25 months on balance transfers with no BT fee. Plus, platinum perks, including overseas travel insurance.
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.
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 Simplicity Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Low Intro Balance Transfer Interest Rate with No Annual Fee
Save with 5% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 90 days from approval. Plus, a 15 month balance transfer offer.
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.
Suncorp Clear Options Platinum Credit Card - Exclusive Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$99 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 18 months
Exclusive Balance Transfer Card Offer*
finder Exclusive: Ends 30 September 2018 Receive a long 18-month, 0% p.a., no fee balance transfer and earn Suncorp Rewards Points or Qantas Points per $1 spent.
Citi Clear Platinum - Exclusive Offer
14.99% 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 24 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Reduced First Year Annual Fee & Balance Transfer Offer*
finder Exclusive: Ends 30 September 2018 Receive 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers and a discounted annual fee in the first year. Plus, access to Citi World Privileges.
Qantas Premier Everyday
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
4.9% p.a. for 24 months
$0 First Year Annual Fee & Bonus Points Offer
Take advantage of up to 40,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $0 first year annual fee plus complimentary overseas travel insurance.
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.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$299 p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
60,000 bonus Qantas Points with Balance Transfer Offer
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas points and a $300 Qantas Flight Voucher when you spend $4,000 in 90 days. Plus, complimentary lounge passes.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card - Exclusive Offer
20.74% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$375 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
70,000 Velocity Points Credit Card*
finder Exclusive: Ends 26 September 2018 Receive 70,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, Status Credits & lounge passes.
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.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45 p.a.
Low Rate Credit Card Offer*
A no-frills card with a competitive annual fee, a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
NAB Low Fee Platinum Card
19.74% p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
$90 p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Platinum Credit Card with Balance Transfer Offer*
Offers 7 complimentary insurance covers, a 0% p.a. for 24 month balance transfer and access to a 24/7 concierge service for a $90 p.a. annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
Up to 44 days on purchases
$129 p.a.
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. Plus, the chance to earn 1 million Velocity Points. Ends 31 Oct 2018.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
17.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
2.99% p.a. for 9 months
$0 Annual Fee & 0% Foreign Transaction Fees
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
St.George Vertigo Visa
13.74% 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 BT fee. Plus, a competitively low annual fee and purchase rate.
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.
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
75,000 Bonus Points*
Get 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge. Ends 26 Sept 2018.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card - Qantas
20.24% p.a.
Up to 45 days on purchases
$50 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Bonus Points and Annual Fee Offer*
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of card approval. Plus, a $50 first year annual fee.
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 with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, the chance to win 1 million Velocity Points.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas - Online Offer
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*
Offers 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days, two yearly Qantas Club lounge passes and a reduced first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$199 p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
Bonus Points & Balance Transfer Offer*
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months of card approval, plus enjoy complimentary travel insurance.
NAB Low Fee 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 & Balance Transfer Offer
Receive complimentary purchase protection insurance, a 18 month balance transfer offer and special offers from Visa Entertainment.
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
Up to 55 days on purchases
$100 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Platinum Credit Card with an introductory Purchase Offer*
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate offer on purchases for 9 months and the protection of 7 complimentary insurances including overseas travel insurance.

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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 Card Offers

Important Information*
Citi Clear Platinum Credit Card

Interest rate

12.99

Annual fee

0*

*$99 p.a. after first year

Westpac Altitude Platinum Card - Qantas

Interest rate

20.24

Annual fee

50*

*$200 p.a. after first year

ANZ Low Rate

Interest rate

12.49

Annual fee

58

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