My wife and I typically use the EZ-Link card to pay for our MRT rides in Singapore. However, just before our recent trip, I got informed that credit/debit card that's contactless-enabled can be accepted to pay for MRT fares. So I decided to give it a try during our vacation.
To those who haven't been familiar with this, Visa's contactless payment is a cutting-edge and secure method to pay. It will reduce your waiting time at the checkout counter, just tap to pay using your contactless Visa card at a contactless payment terminal and there is no need for a PIN. What's more, that technology can also be used for Singapore MRT fares.
Other card types, such as JCB, UnionPay, and American Express, are not currently accepted. Additionally, the Visa and Mastercard credit cards must have contactless features enabled, as said above.
You can determine if your card has this feature by checking for a signal-like logo on it. If it's there, you're good to go for contactless transactions, including Singapore MRT payments.
Before you can use your credit card for MRT payments, you'll need to activate the contactless feature. Thankfully, the process is quite simple:
After completing these steps, your credit card will be ready for contactless transactions. I activated mine by paying for my wife's groceries at the supermarket (talk about being an exemplary husband!). However, note that some of the card issuers may have different regulations for this. Go check yours!
Anyway, I recommend activating the contactless feature before you come to Singapore to avoid any hassle while you're having your holiday.
With your credit card prepared, you're now ready to use it on the Singapore MRT. The process is the same as using an EZ-Link card, except now you're using VISA credit card.
I first tried it on a trip from Farrer Park MRT station to Novena MRT station. I tapped my card at the Farrer Park station gate, and it opened without any delay.
However, the gate screen simply displayed "Bank Card Simply Go," without any balance information like with the EZ-Link card.
Upon reaching Novena MRT station, which is my destination, I tapped my credit card again at the exit gate. The process was seamless, and the door opened without delay. I was already prepared to approach an MRT officer if the gate failed to open.
When tapping out, the gate screen simply displayed "Bank Card Simply Go" once again. No other information was provided. In contrast, when using the traditional EZ-Link card, the fare for the completed trip is typically displayed on the gate screen.
Curious about the fare, I checked my credit-card bobile app the next day and found a charge of IDR 19,475 (SGD 1.09). I also checked the TL SimplyGo app, as I had registered my card there.
For those unfamiliar with it, TL SimplyGo is the official app of Singapore's Transportation Agency. The app allows users to store EZ-Link card data, credit card information, check routes, fares, EZ-Link balances, top-up EZ-Link balances, and much more.
According to the SimplyGo app, the fare from Farrer Park station to Novena was $1.09, with an additional admin fee of $0.60, totaling $1.69. The amount matched the charge listed in my Mobile app.
Initially, I thought the additional fee would apply to each transaction, but after some research, I learned that it's only charged for every posting process—not every transaction. The posting process varies between card types: Visa cards post daily, while Mastercard posts every $15 transaction.
The posting process differs for each card type. For Visa cards, posting occurs daily, while for Mastercard, it takes place every five days or after every $15 transaction. If any of the information provided is inaccurate, please feel free to correct it in the comments section.
As I use a Visa credit card, the posting is done daily. Therefore, regardless of the number of transactions I make to pay for the MRT, I will only be charged an additional fee of $0.60 per day.
So, is it more beneficial to use a credit card or not? I believe it depends on the individual's activities. For some, using a credit card may be more convenient, while for others, sticking with the EZ-Link card might be the better option.
To determine if using a credit card or an EZ-Link card is more suitable for you on the Singapore MRT, please refer to previous article discussing the pros and cons of utilizing contactless cards for Singapore MRT payments.