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The CashCard Needs a New Name

While my colleagues share their opinions on tablet PCs and the new iPhone OS 4.0, I want to talk about something that's much closer to home.

Recently, my CashCard expired without me knowing. It was very annoying, because not only I had to replace it, but I also had to make a few calls to LTA to ensure I wasn't given a fine for going through the ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) gantry without a valid CashCard. And this got me thinking.

Remember how back in 1996 when the CashCard was launched, that it was to be the start of a cashless society? The relevant agencies involved with its conception painted a pretty picture where one could buy things using just the CashCard, and that paper cash as we know it, would be a thing of the past. Well, with the benefit of hindsight, that didn't really happen, did it?

The biggest problem I see with CashCards, apart from needing to top-up its value from time to time, is that the owner needn't authorize a transaction as you would with a credit card or NETS purchase. This poses a problem for people who have committed large amounts of money into their CashCards. Ask yourself which is easier to misplace, a single CashCard with a value of $1,000 or that same amount in $50 note denominations?

So it is no wonder that today, hardly any establishment accepts CashCards for payment. And in truth, the CashCard has become little more more than a gloried parking ticket. It's main use now is for motorists to pay their toll fees at ERP gantries and parking at public car parks and this has been going on for many years now.

Isn't it time they change its name to E-Parking Card or something?

Kenny Yeo / Senior Technology Writer

An analog man trapped in a digital world, Kenny prefers mechanical to quartz watches, buying from brick and mortar shops as opposed to online shopping and eschews fancy dual-clutch cars for good ol' stick shift ones.

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