Using public transport in Singapore? Both residents and tourist must read this: Don’t buy ez-link card anymore (ez-link card is Singapore public bus and MRT card) or at least read this before you fork out money to buy a new ez-link card.
Singapore is known for its clean city as well as its tasty foods. But in case you don’t know, Singapore is also known for its good and efficient public transport network and system. Covering the entire area of Singapore, there are just train services or public bus services to anywhere island-wide. To be able to enjoy public transport, ez-link (or people also write it as ezlink) – the Singapore public bus and MRT card – is required, well, at least in the past.
New way to use public transport in Singapore without ez-link
With government and transport operators are looking to improve how people in Singapore (tourists and residents) can transit between places easier and more convenient, today the requirement to use / have ez-link card on public buses and trains are simply removed, or should I say replaced as recently Singapore was introducing a new way to use their public transport systems and networks: use debit card/credit card with Visa/Master logo on them. Even better, you can use your smartphone as the “ez-link card” to pay for public buses and trains.
How to use Debit Card/Credit Card as a method of payment for SIngapore public buses and trains
To use your Bank’s debit card or credit card, local bank or overseas, it has to fulfill these requirements.
1) Must have Visa/Master logo on it. Both JCB and Amex unfortunately are not supported yet.
2) The Bank’s debit/credit card physical card must have Visa Pay Wave or Master Pay Pass feature on it. Look for wave logo on it.
3) When you ready to take bus/train, tap the debit/credit card on the Bus card reader or MRT gantry when you go in.
4) Once you reached your destination, tap the same debit/credit card on the Bus card reader or MRT gantry when you get out.
How to use Smartphone as a method of payment for Singapore public buses and trains
To use your smartphone as a method of payment for buses and MRT, it has to fulfill these requirements.
To be done one time only:
1) Ensure your smartphone has the following features: wallet function (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay) and NFC (make sure NFC is activated).
2) If you haven’t registered, do register your debit/credit card that has Visa/Master logo to your smartphone wallet. Here’s the steps required for Apple Pay: https://www.jilaxzone.com/2016/08/16/apple-pay/. For other wallet, do check on their respective guides.
To be done each time you are taking public transports:
3) When you ready to take bus/train, open your smartphone wallet, tap the wallet’s debit/credit card on the Bus card reader or MRT gantry. Ensure the reader register you correctly, you either hear a beep sound or the reader shows you “Bank Card Usage”.
4) Once you reached your destination, when you are getting out, open your smartphone wallet and tap the same debit/credit card on the Bus card reader or MRT gantry.
Reasons why you should use your Bank’s Credit/Debit Card or Smartphone wallet instead of using Ez-Link card for public transport in Singapore
First thing first, using Bank’s credit/card or Smartphone wallet (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay) not only they cost the same as Ez-link, but also sometimes they offer cash back or promotions. Check their respective websites to know what’s the current offers they have.
I’ll state the reasons using Pros and Cons models, so that they are easier to see and understand.
Pros of using debit/credit card or smartphone instead of ez-link card for public transports:
1) No additional cost. The transport cost is the same as normal ez-link.
2) Less thing to carry around. No more ez-link cards.
3) Since you don’t bring/own it, you will never lose your ez-link cards anymore.
4) No more topping up. Both Bank’s Credit/Debit card and Smartphone wallet is either auto top-up or pay later when the statement come.
5) No more exit mismatch.
Cons of using debit/credit card or smartphone instead of ez-link card for public transports:
1) Slower if you are using smartphone to pay because there are multiple steps to be done. And it takes time to get used to it.
2) For tourists, if you are using overseas Debit/Credit card, beware of the conversion rates as they will charge you in SGD.
One caveat to take note to avoid double charge
As suggested by Adri Is (on the comment below) and happened to me as well last time, though your smartphone wallet has basically the same info/credential as your debit/credit card, but you can’t use them interchange-ably.
Here’s the scenarios to make it much more clear:
Scenario 1: If you tap in using your smartphone (which linked to your POSB Debit card – example), and when you tap out using your smartphone (with the same POSB Debit card), you’ll get a normal charge – just like what charged to a normal Ez-Link card.
Scenario 2: If you tap in using your smartphone (which linked to your POSB Debit card – example), and when you tap out using your smartphone (this time with POSB Credit card) – notice the difference , you’ll get a double charge, simply because you are not using the same card. The same apply on the other way around – tap in using Credit card, tap out using Debit card.
Scenario 3: If you tap in using your smartphone (which linked to your POSB Debit card – example), and when you tap out, you are using your physical POSB Debit card, instead of your smartphone, you’ll get a double charge, simply because you are not using the same card. The same apply on the other way around – tap in using physical Debit card, tap out using smartphone (which linked to the same Debit card).
The rule of thumb here is:
Whatever method (smartphone/card) you are using when you tap in, use the same method (the same smartphone wallet/the same card) when you are tapping out then you should do just fine – in fact getting rebate if the card you are using has promotion.
Adult Monthly Travel Pass
In case you are looking to buy monthly travel pass so that you can ride unlimited numbers of trains and buses, do check out this link: https://www.jilaxzone.com/2018/07/03/singapore-120-monthly-adult-travel-pass-is-it-worthy/.
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