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Singapore commuters get NFC payments

Customers of mobile network operators M1, Singtel and StarHub can now pay for journeys on public transport services in Singapore with a tap of their NFC device as a result of a partnership between the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and transport card issuer EZ-Link.

LTAThe service is being made available through a new NFC SIM card that customers can purchase from any M1, Singtel or StarHub store and is compatible with 19 devices. It can also be used to make payments at more than 30,000 EZ-Link acceptance points, including retail, food and beverage outlets and taxis.

“With the new NFC SIM, compatible NFC-enabled mobile phones can now be used for payments on MRT, LRT and public buses as well as at more than 30,000 EZ-Link acceptance points islandwide,” LTA says. “The new NFC SIM turns a compatible NFC-enabled mobile phone into a contactless media for transactions and works seamlessly with the existing contactless infrastructure.

“Users simply need to turn on the NFC function on their mobile phones to make payments and top up the purse, as they would with an EZ-Link card. Users can also check their EZ-Link purse balance, transaction history and top-up value using the EZ-Link mobile application.”

Joint trial

“The launch follows the encouraging results from the joint trial which ended in February 2016,” LTA adds. “The trial involved the testing of 15 NFC-enabled mobile phone models with the new NFC SIM, recording more than 30,000 transactions by 1,000 users. This helped the partners refine the performance and reliability of the NFC technology for the public transport system.”

“EZ-Link is pleased to be the first to make NFC payment on public transit a reality in Singapore,” says Nicholas Lee, CEO of EZ-Link. “This is an initial but critical step that will open up many other NFC possibilities in the future.”

The NFC SIM cards are being made available by each of the carriers on different dates between now and the end of April, starting with M1. M1 is charging S$37.45 for the SIM, while Singtel customers will be able to purchase them at “prevailing SIM rates with no additional costs”. The registration fee will also be waived for a limited time.

LTA is set to begin piloting a new ticketing system in the fourth quarter of this year that will let commuters pay for fares using their contactless debit or credit cards. The company has also tested contactless wristbands for payments.

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One comment on this article

  1. Why are users required to obtain a NFC SIM? Was Android Host Card Emulation and built-in NFC not sufficient? Sounds like a poor end user experience

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