Snapper card

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Snapper Card
Location Wellington, Auckland
Launched June 2008
Technology Infineon, SmartMX from NXP Semiconductors
Manager Snapper Services Limited
Currency NZD ( $300 maximum load )
Stored-value Pay as you go
Auto recharge Auto-topup
Validity GO Wellington
  Valley Flyer
Retailed Online

The Snapper card is a contactless electronic ticketing card used to pay for bus fares and other everyday items, such as taxis, food and coffee, in New Zealand. It was introduced in Wellington in July 2008, and another version – the Snapper HOP card – introduced to Auckland in 2011 and withdrawn from Auckland late 2013. It is owned by Snapper Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infratil, which also owns NZ Bus.

It can be used on GO Wellington, Valley Flyer and Runcimans buses in the greater Wellington area, as well as at participating shops and taxi services.[1][2] Further functions for the card are planned, for example, as a loyalty card.

The name 'Snapper' is a continuation of the piscine theme present in other major cities – Octopus cards in Hong Kong, sQuid cards in Bolton, Dundee & Thames Ditton and Oyster cards in London. 'Feeding' Snappers from merchants is also inspired by the piscine theme.


Snapper is a contactless smart card based on Infineon and SmartMX (from NXP Semiconductors) chip sets. It uses the Triple DES cryptographic system, which is standard in financial cards and has been approved in New Zealand as a secure mechanism for connection through to the EFTPOS network. The Snapper system is an adaptation of the T-money system used in South Korea.[3][4]

On 3 May 2012, Snapper and 2degrees mobile announced the launch of a service that allows customers with a compatible NFC phone to make payments in all Snapper merchants using their mobile phone. The first phone to support this service is the LG Optimus Net. This service requires compatible NFC phone and a special SIM card with the snapper secure element included.

The bus-ticketing system is based on a "tag-on", "tag-off" principle, providing valuable data for transport authorities to analyse – and plan for – travel behaviour. Some users have been concerned by the privacy of such practises.[5] Customers were encouraged to enter details and "register" your card. Some users would seek out people to swap their cards with when they became empty, meaning the information about an individual's travel was harder to track.


When topping up Snapper cards at a Snapper retailer, there is a transaction fee of twenty-five cents. This is deducted from the amount being loaded onto the card. Snapper is introducing a self-service kiosk where the card holder can top up using EFTPOS and get an instant balance. There is no top up fee when using the kiosk. Customers can also top up online using a credit card, if they have a Snapper Feeder. There is no fee for topping up online with a credit card; however this item costs $25 to purchase. Users with NFC-enabled Android smartphones may also use the Snapper app to top up their cards via Debit or Credit cards for no fee.

There is a penalty fare for not tagging off on public transport.



GO Wellington buses were the first to use Snapper; it was trialled by 200 users on route 17 to Karori. From 1 June 2009 there is a 20% discount on standard fares for adults using a Snapper. Previously, this discount was 25%. Snapper was made available on Valley Flyer buses from 14 June 2009, and on Runcimans school buses in September later that year. It is not accepted on Mana/Newlands Coachlines, which have their own smartcard.

On 1 December 2009, Snapper announced plans to enter the Auckland market, targeting coverage of 80% of public transport by Rugby World Cup 2011. Infratil, ANZ Bank New Zealand (then ANZ National Bank), Eyede, Unisys and Beca Group pitched Snapper to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, which had made public its intention to introduce smartcards on public transport in Auckland,[1] but lost. Thales Group was awarded the contract.[6] However, Snapper released the HOP card as the first third-party card to work with Thales' system, however were required to exit the Auckland market after failing to make their system compatible with Thales system.

Snapper cards were used on NZ Bus services in Auckland from March 2011 until late 2013.


Tickets for the East by West Ferry in Wellington can be purchased with Snapper cards at Queen's Wharf. Since early 2010, the Snapper card can be used to tag-on and tag-off the ferry, much like on buses, but there is no discount for using it on the ferry.

Retail stores[edit]

Many retailers in Wellington allow Snapper as a form of payment, and facilitate topping up a Snapper card, these include FIX convenience stores, dairies and ticket offices throughout the greater wellington region. In 2015, Snapper announced that, from the 1st of June, these payments would no longer be available,[7] in favour of the use of contactless payments.


  1. ^ a b "Snapper to make a splash". The Dominion Post ( 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  2. ^ "Snappy card speeds Wgtn bus riders' journey". The Dominion Post ( 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ So the calculation data is sent to Korea Smart Card Corporation in Seoul and the calculation is done there. However, it is not compatible with the T-money system in Korea. It means you cannot use the Snapper card in Korea and vice versa.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Auckland Regional Transport Authority[dead link]
  7. ^ "Uh oh...No more coffee??". Snapper Blog. Snapper. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 

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