Syfa & Ganjar

Pros and Cons of Using VISA Card on Singapore's MRT

Written by Ganjar

In the previous article, I shared my personal experience of using VISA credit card to pay for MRT while in Singapore. This has raised so many questions from friends, with many wondering whether it's more cost-effective to use an EZ-Link card or stick with the credit card option.

The answer actually largely hinges on your personal preferences and travel habits when you're in Singapore. Both payment methods come with their distinct set of pros and cons when used for MRT payments.

The Pros of Using a Credit Card

To offer a clearer picture of how these two payment methods stack up against each other, I'll highlight some of the benefits you stand to gain when opting for a credit card to pay for the MRT in Singapore. Here are those perks:

  • No Need to Purchase an EZ-Link Card

When visiting Singapore, particularly for a short duration of one or two days, buying an EZ-Link card can be sidestepped entirely by opting for a credit card.

The EZ-Link card itself has a price tag of $5, which exceeds the administrative fee charged on credit cards. Furthermore, if you lose the card upon returning home, you'll need to repurchase it for any subsequent trips to Singapore.

  • No Top-ups Required
topup ezlink
Reloading EZ-Link balance

One of the things I find most irksome about the EZ-Link card is the need to top up. It can be quite inconvenient if you run out of balance while in a hurry to reach the station. You are left with no choice but to reload your balance at a machine or Passenger Service.

Yes, you can load a big amount at once to avoid multiple top-ups. However, it's a waste if the balance remains unused. It can certainly be put to better use, like purchasing snacks, right?

  • Versatile for Other Transactions

In addition to MRT fares, the contactless credit card can also be leveraged for other types of contactless transactions. These include bus fares and purchases at retail outlets. I personally find it handy for shopping at various merchants or vending machines. It's as simple as tap, tap, tap, and you're done!

The Cons of Using a Credit Card

Having covered the benefits, let's now delve into some of the disadvantages and constraints you may encounter when using this contactless feature of VISA credit card. Here are a few key points to bear in mind:

  • Administrative Fee
tl simplygo

As I said in the previous article, MRT payments via credit card come with an administrative fee of $0.60 per post (not per transaction). For a more thorough explanation, I would recommend revisiting the previous article.

This fee might seem expensive if you only use the MRT once or twice a day. However, if you're a frequent user, making several trips in a day, the fee's impact becomes less significant.

  • Limit on the Number of Transactions
bca mrt singapura 2

According to information available on my card's official website, transactions conducted using the contactless method are capped at 10 per day. This implies that after ten transactions, any additional ones must be processed using the traditional "contact" method, i.e., by inserting the card into an EDC machine.

This limit wouldn't pose a problem if you use the MRT less than 10 times a day. I personally only use the MRT or bus about 5 times a day. However, if you exceed this limit or use the card for contactless transactions elsewhere, you might need to reconsider your options.

  • Transaction Amount Limit

Still referencing the same website, in addition to the limit on the number of transactions, there's also a cap on the total transaction amount when using the contactless method.

The maximum limit for contactless transactions can vary, following the applicable policies of each country or according to your own credit card's limit.

You need to check some of the regulations issued by your card issuers as they might be different. Some of the issuers may have different information regarding the transaction amount or number of transaction limit. Go check yours.

So, Is Using a Credit Card Worth It?

bca ezlink

The answer to this question is subjective and depends entirely on your personal circumstances. If you're in Singapore for a short vacation spanning 1 to 3 days and don't anticipate making many contactless purchases, a credit card is arguably the more advantageous option, as it eliminates the need to buy a $5 EZ-Link card.

However, if you're a frequent MRT user and also make a high number of contactless purchases, it would be prudent to have an EZ-Link card as a backup. In the event that your credit card reaches its transaction limit, you can seamlessly switch to using the EZ-Link card.

A handy trick is to use the your credit card exclusively for contactless MRT payments. If you wish to make purchases at a merchant, opt for a traditional credit card payment using the contact method on the EDC. By doing so, you ensure that your contactless transaction allowance is exclusively utilized for MRT payments.

So, where do your preferences lie? Do you favor using a credit card or an EZ-Link card for MRT payments in Singapore?

We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

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2 comments on “Pros and Cons of Using VISA Card on Singapore's MRT”

  1. Thanks for this great information! I am planning a trip to Singapore this summer from my home in USA/Texas and will certainly use the MRT. After reading your article, I think using the conactless credit card sounds like the way to go as avoiding the hassle of topping up and the $5 fee seems worth the .60 daily posting fee for my 5 day trip. BUT... one thing your article leaves unclear is if the bus service also can use the credit card, you kind of imply that you cannot in which case I guess I probably should get the EZ link as we will use bas travel as well. Can you confirm? Also... I wonder if Apple pay would work as in this country at least it works whereever contactless cards do. Thanks!

    1. Hi there, and thank you for your kind words about my article! To address your question (I apologise if it's unclear), yes, the contactless credit card payment option is also available for bus services in Singapore. This means you can use the same contactless credit card for both MRT and bus travel.

      Regarding Apple Pay, you're in luck! In Singapore, Apple Pay is accepted wherever contactless payments are available. Since the public transport system supports contactless payments, you should be able to use Apple Pay for your MRT and bus fares. It's a hassle-free option, especially if you're accustomed to using Apple Pay in the USA.

      Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions about your trip. Have a fantastic time in Singapore!

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We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

More about Syfa & Ganjar →
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