If a trial planned for next year goes as planned, we could be tapping our bank cards instead of an Opal card to travel on NSW’s public transport network.
Mastercard has spoken in support of the plan, stating that Sydney is “the perfect city” to lead the charge for transit contactless technology in Australia, stating “this will also make Sydney more appealing to international visitors and help boost local tourism,” Mastercard said in a statement.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance told SMH one of the goals of the plan is to get more people off the roads and on to public transport.
Mr Constance points out that there is a lot of work to be done to get the system can be up and running — including working with the finance and contactless payments sector, developing the software and finalising partnerships — this all before even the customer trial can take place.
Mastercard, for one, seem super keen to jump on board. “Australians love using contactless payment cards for speed, security and convenience, and today more than seven out of ten in-store MasterCard transactions under $100 are made using our contactless technology,” Mastercard said in a statement.
“Extending this payment experience to the transit system in NSW means that customers will be able to use their everyday credit or debit cards for public transport. As a result, commuters in NSW will no longer have to worry about topping up their fare accounts, and overseas travellers will find navigating the city as easy as tap and go.”
Contactless debit and credit card payments were trialed and launched on London Buses in December 2012 and expanded across the city’s network in 2014. According to Mastercard, more than 350 million rides have been made using contactless technology, with over one million journeys made each day.
In further Opal news, you can now add funds to your card online within a new version of the Opal app — although it will still take an hour for the credit to become available.