Top up ez-link card with your cellphone

Top up ez-link card with your cellphone

SINGAPORE - Land Transport Authority-owned EZ-Link has launched an app that enables your smartphone to top up the value of your ez-link card.

Users simply tap their ez-link card on their smartphone to facilitate a virtual cash transfer, tied to a user-designated Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card.

Touted as the world's first, the My EZ-Link Mobile app works only on smartphones equipped with the near field communications (NFC) wireless technology for mobile payment. It means these phone users need not top up their fare cards at SMRT ticketing machines, ATMs or AXS Stations.

The topping up of more than 85 per cent of the 17 million ez-link cards is done through these physical points, said Mr Nicholas Lee, chief executive officer of EZ-Link.

The rest are linked to the EZ-Reload scheme that automatically adds a predetermined amount, capped at $50, to a card once its value is insufficient for the next trip. Deductions are tied to credit cards or banking accounts and each transaction comes with a 25-cent fee.

"There are still a lot of people not on the automated top-up scheme, and these are the people we are targeting," said Mr Lee.

There are 10 models of NFC phones that are compatible with the app including Samsung Galaxy S4, S3 and Note 2, Sony Xperia Z and LG G2. Users of older SIM cards need to upgrade them to activate the NFC capabilities in these phones. To register for the app, users are required to give their personal information and link their ez-link cards by tapping them on the phones, and entering the last four digits of their 16-digit ez-link card number.

To top up, users select a value from preset amounts capped at $30. At this point, users will be prompted to enter their payment card details. They may save the information in the phone so that they need not enter the credit card number again for the next transaction.

Instead, they will be prompted for a one-time password and a card code. A 30-cent fee applies for each transaction.

Transport researcher Lee Der- Horng from the National University of Singapore said the lukewarm EZ-Reload response is an indication of how many commuters may use the new app. "Many Singaporeans will be turned off by the 30-cent fee," he said.

Business development director Aaron Koh, 37, said topping up one's fare card is already a convenient process as top-up stations are found in many places.

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