Commonwealth Bank Is Working To Integrate Opal Into Your Credit Card

Commonwealth Bank Is Working To Integrate Opal Into Your Credit Card

Feel like there are too many cards in your wallet? Sydneysiders may soon be able to shrink theirs a little, with the Commonwealth Bank confirming it is actively working to build cards that incorporate the sometimes controversial Opal smartcard for Sydney public transport.

At the official launch of the bank’s Innovation Lab in Sydney, bank executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said that the project was underway, though she didn’t give a timeframe. “We’ve been working closely with the Department of Transport and our vision is that you can use your ordinary credit card including your paytag to simply walk through the gates,” she said.

This concept has been tested elsewhere in the world — several UK banks offer cards with support for the Oyster card used in London, for instance. We’d expect other banks to get on board if this happens, and potentially for this to happen in other states too (though in the case of Myki in Victoria, the network itself needs to be improved first).


  • Department of Transport do such a great job with Opal, I’m sure they’ll do a fantastic job with access to my bank account…. /s

  • Meanwhile, in London, they’ve just enabled contactless payments on the underground, allowing people to travel with just their regular Visa or Mastercard, instead of needing an Oyster Card.

    • Oh good. It’s nice to know the circumstances under which my grandkids will be travelling here in Australia.

  • Why can’t all the Department of Transports get together and make ONE system for the whole of Australia. It doesn’t make sense that I get an Opal card in NSW and then need to open another account in Victoria for a myki. It’s 2014… I should be able to just have an Opal card and use it anywhere in the country.

    • Not to mention half the states have cracked down on interstate concessions on students, while the other half let anyone from Australia use valid concession.

  • Such innovation. Queensland Rail did this from launch. Like the OP said, native PayWave would be better, heaven forbid, use NFC off your phone! Wow!

  • All these cards just represent a token. Albeit on a closed system. A token that is only spendable on that system, Sydney Rail. Lets fast forward to 2014. Using a crypto currency like NXT would allow the rail provider to make that token spendable on their system. If transit providers ALL implemented a crypto token, then users could create markets to trade their tokens. Visiting Melbourne? Trade a few Sydney rail tokens for that city.

    Go further, use them for busses, taxis, Uber etc.

    Instead of spending $ on inventing these close loop systems, and having to protect those servers from attack, look at open source crypto technologies and get it for free.

    This also allows anyone to develop a card, app or what ever, to spend these tokens on the transport system.

    • The direct quote mentions credit cards, but the surrounding conversation made it clear other card types would be covered (which is why the lead just mentions cards).

      • EFTPOS cards don’t have contactless functionality though…

        I doubt they are going to put mag-stripe readers at all public transport gates.

  • In Singapore they have a card that works in multiple places. Car parking, Tolls. Maybe Australia could incorporate the e-tag?

  • All Opal has to to is buy the software module from London.

    Last week I used my 28 Degrees card on the Underground, tapping in and out with the 28 Degrees card. TfL charged my card for the fares at the end of each day. It pretty well worked exactly like my Oyster card has in the past.
    (I did however miss Opal’s large screen saying what the system had just done, felt blind not getting that feedback).

    BTW the integrated ‘Oyster + Credit card’ offered in the UK by Barcley Card I believe is no longer available. An Oyster chip and a EMV contactless chip couldn’t co-exist, so when banking cards moved from magnetic strip to chip, the product was dropped.

    Singapore’s CEPAS operates more like a banking card than a transport fare card. Can’t see our banking cartels letting Opal get in on that turf. SIngapore is also a small island state with a strong central government. CEPAS would never fly in Australia.

    A number of Asian systems based on Sony Felica system (Suica for example) filled in a void in the ‘micropayment’ market and can be used to buy snacks , newspapers, etc. This market is exactly what the banks are aiming at with Paywave/Paypass. You can bet they will NOT be encouraging Opal into that market now they have their ‘own’ solution to micropayments.

    My only fear is that CommBank might succeed in convincing TfNSW to allow them exclusive access to the Opal infrastructure in return for paying for the software required and end up with a system that only accepts comm-bank cards and not every issuers cards.

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