Next time you catch the light rail or hop on a ferry in Sydney you can tap on and off using your credit card, smart phone or watch – as long as it’s connected to an Amex, Mastercard or Visa. The cost of your journey will be the same as an adult Opal single-trip ticket and you can avoid the queues at top-up machines.

After trialling the new payment system on ferries between Circular Quay and Manly, the contactless method has been rolled out across the city and the inner-west light-rail line, which runs between Central Station and Dulwich Hill. Just use the usual electronic ticketing gate outside terminals.

But tapping your credit card means you’ll miss out on the benefits of regularly using your Opal card, such as half-price fares after eight trips in a week.

“Contactless transport payments make purchasing one-off fares quick, easy and seamless,” says Transport Minister Andrew Constance in an official statement. “… We are … trying to provide convenience for tourists [and] … people who might have left their Opal card at home or misplaced their Opal card.”

This doesn’t mean Opal is being superseded. “We are not replacing the Opal system. The Opal system is here to stay, and of course attached to the Opal system are all the benefits,” says Constance.

The state government hopes to extend this payment method to trains by the end of the year.

Get our pick of the best news, features and events delivered twice a week