Commuters can now 'tap on' with credit cards - but there's a catch

Getting around Sydney without an Opal card is becoming easier, with credit cards and smartphones now accepted for payment on the Inner West light rail.

The contactless payment system is already working on ferries and will soon expand to trains.

From Monday, even "smart watches" can get you a ride on Sydney's light rail, but there is a catch when it comes to travel discounts.

Contactless payment for Sydney's light rail system is now up and running. Source: 7 News

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said using smartphones and credit cards to pay for fares is "exactly the same as a single Opal fare, but the key point that I would make is that unlike the Opal, it doesn't have the same benefits."

With smartphone or credit card payment, the 50 per cent discount after eight weekly trips, the bonus discount for changing modes of transport, and the $2.50 cap for the Seniors gold Card are all gone.

"It's designed to be be able to be convenient for tourists, for those who left their Opal at home, it's about convenience," Mr Constance said.

Commuters can use their credit card or smartphone to pay for their fare. Source: 7 News

Regular passengers will still be able to use their Opal cards.

The light rail system is just the start, with a plan to have "smart" payments rolled out right across the train network by the end of the year.

The new rollout down the light rail line follows on from the successful ferry trial and has prepared the operator and the government for that next big step onto the wider heavy rail network.

Tap-and-go payment is becoming more popular but commuters won't get the same discount benefits as using an Opal card. Source: 7 News

"I think you'll see this roll out very quickly across New South Wales and the other states won't be far behind either," Mastercard's Richard Wormald said.