Commuters can use compatible NFC phones to pay bus and train fares

Commuters can now use compatible mobile phones with NFC technology to pay their bus and train rides. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Commuters can now use compatible mobile phones with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to pay their bus and train rides.

Similar to using an ez-link travel card, commuters can simply tap their handsets at MRT and LRT fare gantries, as well as on card readers on buses.

There are currently 19 phones - including models from LG, Samsung and Sony - which are compatible with the new payment mode, with more to be added progressively.

Commuters will have to purchase a new NFC SIM card from their telcos, which is CePAS (Contactless e-Purse Application)-compliant, and turn on their device's NFC function to make payments or top-ups.

"This is a milestone in the use of NFC technology in public transit in Singapore," said Land Transport Authority (LTA) chief executive Chew Men Leong on Tuesday (March 29).

"We have been testing various innovative fare payment systems, and bringing these NFC SIMs and mobile phone models into the public transit ticketing environment bears fruit to LTA's on-going efforts to leverage on technology to bring greater convenience to commuters through new and convenient ways to pay for travel," Mr Chew said.

The implementation of NFC payments for buses and trains follows a joint trial between LTA, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), and EZ-Link, which ended in February this year.

The pilot started in August 2014 with train services and was extended to buses in September 2015, involving the testing of 15 NFC-enabled mobile phone models with the new NFC SIM, recording more than 30,000 transactions by 1,000 users.

Besides paying for public transport rides, consumers with the compatible NFC phones and NFC SIM cards can also make payments at more than 30,000 ez-link acceptance points islandwide, including retail, food and beverage outlets, and on taxis.

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M1 will be the first to offer the new NFC SIM, starting from Tuesday (March 29). It will be priced at $37.45, including GST.

As a launch promotion, the service activation fee of $9.10 will also be waived for customers signing up until April 30, 2016, while stocks last, M1 said.

From Saturday (April 2), StarHub customers can get the NFC SIM for $37.45, or at $26.75 for a SIM replacement. The NFC ez-link purse fee of $5 is waived till further notice, as a launch promotion, StarHub said.

Meanwhile, Singtel will start selling their NFC SIMs in "late April 2016", the telco said.

Singtel customers will be able to purchase them from Singtel retail shops at prevailing SIM rates with no additional costs, the telco added. The usual $5 ez-link registration fee will also be waived for a limited time.

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