Singapore adds Visa to contactless transit payments

Follows Mastercard functionality at SimplyGo launch in April.

Singapore adds Visa to contactless transit payments

Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) has added Visa cards to its contactless transit payments initiative, SimplyGo.

SimplyGo allows commuters to use their Mastercard or Visa contactless bank cards or mobile phones to pay for travel on public transport.

To use a bank card or contactless device, commuters are required to tap it on the fare reader at the train station gantry or on the bus when boarding and alighting. Commuters can also view their travel expenditure and history by registering for an account on the TransitLink SimplyGo Portal, the LTA said.

The fares charged will be the same amount as if a commuter had used a travel card.

According to Visa, the project with LTA will be one of Visa's largest implementations of contactless acceptance for transit globally, at 30,000 acceptance points.

All banks that issue contactless-enabled Visa cards -- Bank of China, CIMB, Citibank, DBS, HSBC, ICBC Bank, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and UOB -- will be available for customers to use for travel payments.

"By opening up contactless acceptance for transit, we are removing friction from the travel experience, eliminating the need for Singaporeans and tourists to wait in line to top up their stored value travel cards," Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei Kunal Chatterjee said. "Visa will continue to work closely with our partners to streamline the payment experience at all touchpoints across Singapore to make it seamless and convenient."

Visa said Singapore is already one of the top markets globally in terms of contactless penetration, with more than 80% of all Visa transactions being contactless, and the company expects the number to grow with the opening of transit acceptance.

The April launch of SimplyGo saw Singapore join the likes of London, Sydney, and New York that have enabled openloop payment for public transport.


Image: Supplied

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Transport for London (TfL) was the world's first public transport provider to enable contactless payments using bank cards. The TfL system -- developed in-house -- was introduced on London buses in December 2012 before being extended to tube and rail services in September 2014.

As of early 2018, around 17 million journeys a week were paid for using contactless cards and mobile devices, and London's system is being adapted for use overseas.

Currently in the greater Sydney region, public transport commuters can pay with debit and credit cards, in lieu of using an Opal travel card, across the Sydney Trains network and on any New South Wales Train Link Opal service.

Like the Singapore solution, this includes smartphones and smart devices that have NFC payment capability.