Say Hello to Kitty charms for ez-link

HELLO Kitty, goodbye boring ez-link cards.

The company behind the ez-link card will introduce new trinkets that will be able to hold credit in the same way that cards do now.

These small trinkets, which can be hung on mobile phones or keychains, will function in exactly the same way as ez-link cards.

They can be used on buses, trains and taxis, as well as for shopping and dining, and can be topped up at all ez-link card channels, including ATMs.

The first wave of the charms features the popular cartoon cat, Hello Kitty, chosen for its "global appeal", said EZ-Link chief executive Nicholas Lee.

Potential ideas for future series include Marvel super- heroes or Star Wars characters, although Mr Lee did not confirm whether they will be next.

Such trinkets are already popular in other countries, for instance, Octopus Ornaments in Hong Kong and T-money accessories in South Korea.

The Hello Kitty charm will cost $24.90 with no stored value and will come in four designs - red, pink, black and blue.

All four will be made available online as a set at $99.60, from April 30 onwards.

"A charm will be easier to use, because the reader sometimes can't sense the card from inside a wallet," said Miss Rachel Tng, 24, who works in online marketing.

"But I'm not a Hello Kitty fan, so I'll wait for other designs before getting one."

lesterh@sph.com.sg