Melbourne’s public transport system includes trains, trams and buses. Operated by Public Transport Victoria, the best way to get around is with the Myki card — Melbourne’s version of Sydney’s Opal card. Unlike the Opal card, however, passengers can’t use a credit card to pay for a ticket when boarding public transport. This will change in the coming years, as the Myki readers will be overhauled to accept credit and debit card payments. This is expected to roll out by 2026.
Public transport in Melbourne
Melbourne is the only city in Australia with a charming and convenient tram network. Getting around Melbourne’s central business district (CBD) on trams is free. If you start or finish a journey beyond the free tram zone, the Myki card is required.
Trains and buses are other ways to move around the city. There are multiple train stations in Melbourne city, as well as a bus network with routes that run to major hubs, such as sporting venues.
Melbourne’s public transport system is zoned. Zone 1 is the CBD and inner-city suburbs. Zone 2 covers the suburbs beyond. Travel across Zones 1 and 2 is included in the same fare. The fare is calculated by zone and time. When you board, an initial two-hour charge applies. If you continue travelling after two hours, it automatically switches to a full-day fare. A two-hour fare in Zone 1 and 2 is $5, whereas the daily fare is $10 — which means you won’t keep incurring the $5 charge with every trip.
On the weekend, there’s a fare cap of $7.20. You can buy a daily or weekly Myki Pass for additional savings. Daily passes are $6 for Zone 1 & 2, and $3.96 for Zone 2. Weekly passes are $50 for Zone 1 & 2, and $33 for Zone 2. The Myki Pass is $4 cheaper than the standard daily cap. There are concessions for children, students, seniors, groups and companies. Free travel is available for passengers with a permanent physical disability, carers, and other special circumstances.
With free tram travel in the CBD and the daily/weekly caps, passengers can save a lot on public transport in Australia’s biggest city.
More about the Myki card
Myki is the primary payment method for Melbourne public transport. The reloadable travel card is referred to as the Myki. The funds you load on the card are called Myki Money. Unlike Sydney’s $10 minimum load, the Myki Money top-up amount starts at $1. To avoid reloading on the run, top up the equivalent of the two-hour fare.
Once you have the physical card, you can top up your Myki via the Public Transport Victoria website or app, at pay stations, affiliated shops or by calling 1800 800 007. Android users can use Myki Mobile to top up credit and tap on public transport, without the need for a physical Myki card. As the Myki infrastructure is updated to accept credit and debit cards, Myki Mobile will extend to iPhone users. This will also open up tap-on payments for Apple watches.
Can you use a credit card instead of a Myki?
Not yet. While the trials for credit and debit card payments will begin in 2024, this service won’t be fully operational until 2026. It will be implemented progressively across the city, so passengers might have an opportunity to experience it earlier. Contactless payments are becoming more common and will likely be the norm in the coming years.
How to use a credit card for Melbourne transport
Although you can’t use your physical credit card to tap on yet like you do with a Myki, you can buy your fare and load your pass with a credit card (as long as it’s an Australian-issued Mastercard or Visa). All the different ways to top up your Myki accept credit and debit cards. If you’re topping up at a 7-Eleven or a Myki-affiliated store, ask if they charge a merchant fee.
Depending on which credit card you have, you can earn reward points with every Myki top-up order. Aside from sign-up bonuses, paying for expenses on a credit card is the other main strategy to build reward points. As with every credit card transaction, it’s important to pay off your card at the end of the month before the interest kicks in. Otherwise, you might end up paying extra for public transport when you factor in the credit card interest and fees.
If you’re working on building your credit score, a great way to do it is using your card to pay for expenses you’d otherwise use your debit card for. As long as you pay the balance off in full by the end of the month, it’s a simple strategy to improve your financial position.
With some pre-planning, you can map your journey around Melbourne to leverage the free trams and early morning weekday trains to reduce public transport costs. Free public transport isn’t available in all major cities, so make use of it when you can. When you pay for public transport, consider the associated benefits.
Reloading your Myki with a credit card provides flexibility, convenience and another way to show your creditworthiness.