Ask a bunch of Sydneysiders about the public transport system and you're likely to get similar responses, that is, there's not a whole lot of love for it. When the electronic ticketing system, Opal, was introduced, it was already ten years behind other global cities, and five years behind Australian cities such as Melbourne and Brisbane. However, the important thing is that the system is now in place. We're here to show you how to get the most from your Opal card.
Option 1: Set up your Opal right
- Buy your card from the Opal website or through a vendor — make sure you don't link your credit or debit card when you do so
- Sign up for a Woolworths Rewards credit card OR an OR a Coles rewards credit card
- Enjoy your rewards points or fuel discounts
How does this work?
- If you link the Woolworths Rewards Credit Card to your Opal card account, you'll earn rewards points each time you travel. You can earn 1 point per dollar spent for eligible purchases. When you use your card at Woolworths, which includes when you top up your Opal card balance, you can earn 2 points for each dollar you spend. Points never expire and there's no cap and you'll receive your rewards in the form of a shopping card every four months or even annually.
Coles rewards credit cards offer similar benefits, such as the ability to earn flybuys points when you top up your Opal. You can earn up to 2 flybuys points with the Coles Platinum Rewards Mastercard, and up to 2 flybuys points with the Coles Rewards Mastercard.
- If you have an Everyday Rewards Card, which is free to sign up for, you'll receive 4c off petrol when you spend at Woolworths. Just take your Opal into Woolworths top up, remembering to show your Everyday Rewards card when you do. If you have your card linked to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, you can also earn Qantas Points for your fare.
Option 2: Take the scenic route
Opal works on a system whereby you only pay for eight trips per week, with the remaining trips being half price. So if you work a standard nine-to-five, you'll only pay for your transport in full on Monday through Thursday. If you travel a fair distance to work, there is a way to hack this system. However, these were more beneficial when the system meant trips were free after eight completed rides.
- You can register your card. If you ever lose it, it can be returned to you and save you having to get another one
- You need to tap on and tap off to get the correct fare, otherwise you'll be charged for the full length of the trip
- If you forget to tap off, get in touch with the Opal Customer Care team to ensure you don't get overcharged
Note: This article was published in 2016 and the information was correct at the time of publication, however some of the offers and deals may have since changed.
⚠️ Warning about Borrowing
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It can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and borrowing may not solve your money problems.
Check your options before you borrow:
- For information about other options for managing bills and debts, ring 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor
- Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan
- If you are on government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink: Phone: 13 17 94
The Government's MoneySmart website shows you how small amount loans work and suggests other options that may help you.
* This statement is an Australian Government requirement under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.
If you're experiencing financial hardship and would like to speak to someone for free financial counselling, you can call the Financial Counsellors hotline on 1800 007 007. It is open from 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. When comparing short term loans, ensure you take into consideration any fees, charges and rates you may be charged. It's important to weigh up all your options before applying for any form of credit.