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.
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:
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.
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?
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!
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:
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.
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.
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 is IDR 3,000,000 per day.
If you're solely using the card for MRT payments, reaching the IDR 3 million limit is highly unlikely. However, if you utilize the card for high-value shopping transactions, you could potentially hit the mark in a day.
BUT! Those are what have been applied to mine. 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.
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?