Folks living in NSW may be gradually returning to regular life and giving the public transport card a workout, but it could be a part of their phones in the next year.
The amount of cards you typically carry with you is beginning to fall in number, and that’s largely thanks to your phone.
As most people know, and as the coronavirus pandemic helped expedite, using your phone to pay for goods and services is beginning to be the way many of us work, something made even easier now that Australian banks have mostly joined the platforms. It means that regardless of you bank with, some sort of mobile payment service should be offered, allowing you to integrate your debit or credit card into your phone, meaning you can leave more of that wallet at home.
Digital licenses are beginning to make a dent here, as well, with your driver’s license gradually making the jump to your phone.
So what’s next?
Possibly the transport card in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales.
Transport for NSW has this week announced that it will run a trial to bring the Opal transport card to phones and wearables, testing the technology in conjunction with Mastercard, CommBank, and EML Payments.
The test will be limited to 10,000 people to begin with, shy of the several million people in the state boarding buses, trains, ferries, and light rail regularly, but will reportedly work via the Apple Walet on the iPhone and Apple Watch, as well as on Samsung Pay across Samsung phones and wearables, with Google Pay support to be added not long after. Nothing has been announced for either Fitbit Pay or Garmin Pay, though these can be used with a mobile payment like a debit card to tap on at Opal terminals.
“We have seen the increased popularity of using a digital wallet to conduct shopping and access membership cards, so we’re delighted to be taking Opal digitally for the first time while providing the same Opal card benefits to adult customers,” said a spokesperson for Transport for NSW.
“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.”
Joining the trial is something we expect quite a few people wil be interested in, with those 10,000 (or up to 10,000 people) testing the digital Opal card for 12 months, before the phone-based Opal card becomes something everyone can get their hands on. To qualify, people will have to register their interest on the Transport for NSW site in the coming weeks, with the program looking like it’ll kick off not long after.
That does mean it will likely be a good year still before most NSW residents will have access to a digital Opal card, suggesting late 2021 to early 2022 is when it will launch. For now, just keep that Opal card near the back of your phone if you want to feel like it’s working for you in the same way.