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Visa introduces contactless payment for public transport in partnership with LTA’s SimplyGo initiative

Commuters taking public transport in Singapore will now have the option to tap their Visa contactless cards or compatible mobile devices at MRT stations or buses as a part of the global payment system’s partnership with the Land Transport Authority under the SimplyGo initiative.

Covering 30,000 contactless payment acceptance points worldwide, multinational banks such as Bank of China, CIMB, Citibank, DBS, HSBC, ICBC Bank, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB issuing contactless-enabled Visa cards will participate in the initiative.

However, in order to utilise SimplyGo, certain Visa contactless cards need to be upgraded for compatibility. Cardholders will be notified by their respective banks.

Compatible mobile devices such as Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay can also be used to make contactless payments for public transport fares in Singapore under the project.

Additionally, Singtel Dash mobile wallet users will also have the option to tap and pay for bus and train rides using their Dash Visa Virtual Account. An updated list of compatible phone models and operating system versions that have undergone testing is available here.

Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei Kunal Chatterjee said: “We are excited to bring contactless transit payments to our cardholders in Singapore as part of LTA’s SimplyGo initiative. Our partnership with LTA to implement contactless acceptance is one of the largest contactless initiatives for transit that Visa is implementing globally and we are proud that this expansive project has come to fruition.

“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 will continue to work closely with our partners to streamline the payment experience at all touchpoints across Singapore to make it seamless and convenient.

“Today, Singapore is already one of the top markets globally in terms of contactless penetration with more than 80 percent of all Visa transactions being contactless. We expect this number to grow even faster with the opening of transit acceptance,” added Mr Kunal.

Visa’s partnership with LTA under the SimplyGo initiative follows the Singapore Transit Study, which was commissioned by Visa in Mar this year and conducted by Intuit Research, to study the “travel habits, pain-points and challenges” in the commuting experiences of over 1,000 Singaporeans surveyed.

Findings of the study revealed that more than one-third (35 per cent) of respondents aged 18-65 find it inconvenient to top-up their prepaid stored value cards such as EZ-Link for local travel, while nearly 70 per cent of respondents revealed that it is a hassle to wait in long queues to purchase fares or top up their travel cards.

The same study also highlighted that 75 per cent of Singaporeans are open to using mobile or digital payments as their sole method of payment for public transport.

With the launch of the SimplyGo programme, Singapore joins other major cities that have enabled open-loop Visa payment cards for public transport, including London, Sydney and New York.