Snapper, the contactless card payments system used on Infratil's commuter buses, says Wellington's usage has reached 80 per cent penetration and it's now eyeing parking payment opportunities.

Snapper cards on issue have climbed by 70,000 to 370,000 since August. The number of retailers accepting card in Wellington and Auckland has risen to 520 outlets from 500 in the same period.

"Particularly at peak times it is rare to see someone using cash - the boarding and de-boarding (of buses) is now so quick," Miki Szikszai, chief executive at Snapper, told BusinessDesk. "The growth rate is pretty solid, we are seeing it grow week on week."

The Wellington-based company said it is currently looking at a host of expansion opportunities and it continues to work alongside Auckland Transport to manage HOP, the city's commuter card, which uses the Snapper technology.


"We are generally looking at opportunities to improve distribution and we think there are some unmet needs around payment," he said. "There is an opportunity looking a parking we are interested in."

Contactless card systems are a growing global trend including London's Oyster card and Hong Kong's Octopus.

On average commuters top up there Snapper cards in $25 dollars allotments while online top ups can be up to 40 per cent more, Szikszai said. On that basis Snapper would have a float of about $9.3 million at any one time.

"It is in the millions of dollars," he said. "The frequency of the reload is high - people reload every 10 to 14 days."