Visa and Nets cardholders can soon pay for their train and bus rides using their contactless bank cards, with the expansion of a pilot by the Land Transport Authority
LTA expands contactless payment trial for public transport to Visa, Nets cardholders Commuters are charged for their public transport rides in their credit or debit card bill, similar to contactless transactions made at retail merchants. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Visa and Nets cardholders can soon pay for their train and bus rides using their contactless bank cards, with the expansion of a pilot by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to begin next month.

The LTA, Nets and Visa said in a joint statement on Friday (Nov 30) that the account-based ticketing (ABT) system has seen a successful pilot run with Mastercard since March last year.

Commuters are charged for their public transport rides in their credit or debit card bill, similar to contactless transactions made at retail merchants.

The expansion to include Visa and Nets card holders will allow them to improve the inter-operability of these cards before the LTA introduces the system to all commuters with contactless bank cards, the statement said.

LTA chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping said: "I am confident that the Visa and Nets trials will be equally helpful in fine-tuning the ABT system before we launch it to the public in future."

Commuters with Nets contactless bank cards with DBS/POSB, OCBC and United Overseas Bank (UOB) who are interested in joining the pilot can register at www.nets.com.sg/netsintransit from next Monday.

Visa will be inviting a group of employees and participants from various banks to take part in the pilot.

The participating banks include Bank of China, Citibank, CIMB, DBS, HSBC, ICBC, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered and UOB.

Participants will be informed by Visa or their respective banks to register on the TransitLink ABT Portal or mobile app from next Monday.

Mr Kunal Chatterjee, Visa's country manager for Singapore and Brunei, said that a recent transit study by Visa found that nearly seven in 10 Singaporeans agree that the top benefit of using contactless payment is the convenience it brings.

They added that they no longer need to use cash or top up their stored value cards to pay for their rides.

The LTA, in an update on the Mastercard pilot, said more than 100,000 commuters have made 26 million trips using the ABT system since March 2017. This is an average of over 50,000 trips daily.

One of the pilot users, Ms Adeline Goh, said: "Nowadays, I simply tap my Mastercard at the fare gates, and there is no need to top-up or worry about insufficient balance in my travel card, especially since I have to take a bus to the MRT station to top-up.

"It is also very convenient for me to check my transactions and track my transport expenditure on the TransitLink ABT Portal."

Mastercard users who are interested in signing up for the Mastercard ABT pilot can continue to do so via the TransitLink ABT Portal or mobile app.