EZ-Pay removes hassle of topping up CashCard

EZ-Link's system is latest IU payment option linked to driver's credit card and is free to use

Motorists can soon sail through Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries without a CashCard in their in-vehicle units (IU) - and not get penalised.

And in the near future, they need not fiddle with a CashCard when exiting a carpark too.

Instead, all the charges will be billed to a registered credit card.

On top of the convenience factor - motorists no longer need to worry about topping up their CashCards - this will allow them to better track their movements, such as which gantries they drove through and when.

The new payment system, called EZ-Pay, was launched yesterday by payment provider EZ-Link.

It is not the first to introduce a cardless ERP payment system. DBS and Nets had introduced MotorPay and vCashCard respectively for ERP charges.

But EZ-Pay is the first that will be free to use. There are no subscription or top-up fees.

For a start, it will be offered to Citibank credit card users, and extended to those using DBS and POSB credit cards next year.

By comparison, MotorPay is only for DBS card users, and incurs a monthly subscription fee of $1.07.

The vCashCard, a virtual wallet from which ERP charges are deducted, incurs a 50-cent charge every time an automatic top-up of $50 is made. This charge is waived for a year for United Overseas Bank credit card users.

Both DBS and Nets declined to give figures of take-ups when asked.

All three systems are supported by the Land Transport Authority, and allow motorists to do away with the hassle of topping up their stored-value cards, or ensuring they have cards in their IUs.

EZ-Link chief executive Nicholas Lee said the EZ-Pay system leverages on its current payment infrastructure, allowing it to be offered for free.

"It is account-based, which allows straight-through processing, in other words, charged directly to the user's credit card," he said.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said that cardless ERP payments will likely be a key part of the next-generation, satellite-based ERP that will be rolled out from 2020.

"Post-payment has benefits if it allows users to track, for example, which gantries they drive past and at what time. People can become more mindful about their usage," said Dr Lee. This also allows for more transparency, especially if distance-based ERP charging is introduced later on, he added.

EZ-Pay will be accepted at shopping mall Jurong Point at the end of next month in a pilot programme, said EZ-Link. It is also working with other carpark operators. Nets said it will progressively enable carpark payment in the "near future".

To obtain an EZ-Pay account, motorists can visit www.ezlink.com.sg for a one-time registration with their vehicle number and Citibank credit card details.

Finance director Goh Yew Leng, 49, who currently uses MotorPay, said: "I pass through ERP gantries daily and I don't have to worry about my CashCard having not enough value.

"With EZ-Pay, there will be more competition in the market, which is good."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'EZ-Pay removes hassle of topping up CashCard'. Print Edition | Subscribe