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Indoor view of a person using a card to pay for public transport in Singapore from Shutterstock.com

LTA expands account-based ticketing pilot to NETS and Visa

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will expand a pilot of the account-based ticketing (ABT) system with NETS and Visa contactless credit and debit cards for public transport fare payments in December 2018, following a successful pilot with Mastercard.

More commuters will get to enjoy the convenience of paying for public transport rides without the need to carry an extra travel card or top up their cards, similar to how contactless transactions are made at retail merchants, the authority said.

The expansion will also allow LTA and its partners to improve inter-operability with these cards before LTA introduces ABT to all commuters with contactless bank cards in the future, which ties in with one of the key projects under Singapore’s Smart Nation effort – E-Payments, and taps on digital payments technology to provide commuters with a more seamless travel experience.

Mr Ngien Hoon Ping, Chief Executive of LTA, said, "We are pleased to extend the pilot to NETS and Visa, which will allow even more commuters to try and experience ABT, especially the convenience it offers. The trial for Mastercard has been very encouraging so far, and I am confident that the Visa and NETS trials will be equally helpful in fine-tuning the ABT system before we launch it to the public in future."

Commuters who hold NETS Contactless Bank Cards with DBS/POSB, OCBC and UOB and are interested to take part in the pilot will be able to register their interest at NET website from 3 December 2018.

Mr Jeffrey Goh, Group CEO, NETS, said, "With this pilot, NETS Contactless Cardholders can now pay for all their daily essentials, such as food, groceries and now public transport, with just their NETS Contactless Bank card. In addition to enjoying the convenience of tapping to pay at over 110,000 acceptance points island-wide, which includes more than 4,000 hawker centres and canteen stalls, NETS Contactless Cardholders no longer have to key in a PIN for transactions less than $100."

Meanwhile, the pilot will be limited to an invited group of employees from Visa and participating banks. Invited participants will be informed by Visa or their respective banks to register on the TransitLink ABT Portal or TransitLink mobile app from 3 December 2018.

"Visa commissioned a transit study recently and based on the findings, we are confident that Singaporeans will embrace the benefits of contactless payments for transit given the high contactless payments penetration in the country. Close to 7 in 10 Singaporeans state that the top benefit of using contactless payment for transit is that they no longer need to use cash or top up their stored value cards to pay for their rides. Visa has a successful history of supporting public transport and delivering contactless payments acceptance in the mass transit industry globally. We are excited to kick off this pilot with LTA to transform the commuter experience in Singapore," said Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore & Brunei.

LTA stated that commuter receptiveness to ABT has been encouraging, with over 100,000 participants in the Mastercard pilot since March 2017. More than 26 million trips have been transacted via ABT, with an average of over 50,000 trips daily. The Mastercard pilot has enabled LTA to enhance the ABT System and user experience. For instance, LTA has worked with TransitLink to add new features to the mobile app, such as allowing users to opt in to receive push notifications for trip fares.

Ms Adeline Goh, a Mastercard ABT pilot user, said, "Nowadays, I simply tap my Mastercard at the fare gates, there is no need to top-up or worry about insufficient balance in my travel card, especially since I have to take a bus to the MRT station to top-up. It is also very convenient for me to check my transactions and track my transport expenditure on the TransitLink ABT Portal."

Mastercard users who are interested to sign up for the Mastercard ABT pilot can continue to do so via the TransitLink ABT Portal or TransitLink mobile app.