While the dream of paying for our rides on public transport using our smartphones has yet to become a reality, Singaporeans are one step closer today with the launch of the world's first near field communication (NFC) mobile app for EZ-Link top-ups.
The NFC mobile app, known as My EZ-Link Mobile is available for download on selected NFC-enabled Android smartphones. Here's the list of smartphones that are supported at time of launch:
Setting up My EZ-Link Mobile App is quite straightforward. It will only take at most two minutes for you to set up everything on your smartphone. With the registration done, you can go on to add up to 10 EZ-Link cards on the smartphone.
The app not only allows you to perform top-ups, it also enables you to view the card transaction history (up to the last 30 entries), card balance viewing, management of multiple cards and personalization. You can name the different cards according to your preferences.
Do note that each top-up transaction will come with a convenience fee of $0.30. This convenience fee will be waived for a promotional period of 6 months. For MasterCard holders, the promotional period is valid till 31st May 2014.
When topping up the EZ-Link card from the app, you have to remember to tap the EZ-Link card again on the back of your smartphone to reflect the updated amount. In addition, topping up of the EZ-Link card is not allowed during bus journeys. This is due to the way the fare system works on public buses.
When you board a public bus and tap your EZ-Link card, the full fare amount is deducted from your card. When you alight at your destination, the remaining amount after fare deduction will be refunded after you tap at the reader. If you top-up the card during the bus journey, it will screw up the entire process and this means that you paid for the full fare.
While My EZ-Link Mobile app seems like a great way to top-up your card while on-the-go, there is a faster, cheaper and more convenient way - EZ-Reload service. This auto top-up service is available for selected credit cards such as POSB Everyday Card, Citibank SMRT Card, HSBC Revolution Card, ANZ Platinum Card, Plus! Visa Credit Card and NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card.
EZ-Reload automatically top-ups your EZ-Link card whenever it reaches $0 or the existing amount is insufficient to pay for the transaction. The convenience fee is $0.25 per top-up. The initial application may be more complicated, but once that is completed, you do not have to worry any more about topping-up, OTPs and tapping of EZ-Link cards on the back of your phone.
To find out more about NFC and the development in Singapore, do check out our Tech Guide on Understanding NFC.