Sydney commuters are being asked to register for a 12-month trial of the state’s digital Opal card that will initially be limited to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay users.
Transport for NSW opened registrations for the long-awaited trial on Tuesday, almost a full year after the agency first revealed plans for a virtual equivalent of the Opal smartcard.
The trial will allow up to 10,000 Adult Opal card users to add a virtual Opal card to their digital wallets and use it on all modes of public transport.
Apple Pay (albeit without Express Transit) and Samsung Pay will be supported from the start, with Google Pay expected to be available “shortly”.
An iPhone 6s or newer with at least iOS 13 or a NFC-capable Samsung smartphone with Android 8 or newer will be required to sign up.
As revealed by iTnews in October, the digital Opal card is supported by Mastercard, which was also the first to trial contactless payments on the public transport network in 2017.
Mastercard has partnered with Australian-based digital gift card and prepaid card company EML Payments and the Commonwealth Bank to deliver the trial.
In setting up the “Opal digital trial app”, customers will automatically create an Opal Connect account, which the digital opal card will be linked to.
Opal Connect is a payments platform introduced by TfNSW in October 2019 to commuters to keep track of all their public transport payments, including contactless payments.
The platform has been previously been touted as the foundation for the government’s future Netflix-style subscription service for transport.
The digital Opal card will be separate to the physical Opal card product, meaning that trial participants will be given an entirely new card with auto top-up enabled.
Trial participants will also need to consent to providing "historical Opal and/or contactless transport payments information for travel data analysis during the trial".
A spokesperson said TfNSW was “delighted to be taking Opal digitally for the first time while providing the same Opal card benefits to adult customers”.
“With so many different contactless payment solutions going digital, we look forward to seeing the benefit and convenience customers will experience from being able to move around the network using their smartphone or watch,” the spokesperson said.
“This trial will enable us to listen to Opal users’ feedback, expectations and preferences and continue to enhance the experience for people travelling on the network.”
Adult Opal users keen to take part in the trial are being asked to sign up for the trial here and will be notified whether they have been successful over the coming weeks.