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The EZ-Link card is a contactless smart card used for the payment of public transportation fares in Singapore.

EZ-Link
EZ-Link logo.svg
LocationSingapore
Launched13 April 2002 (FeliCa EZ-Link)
February 2009 (CEPAS EZ-Link)
Technology
OperatorEZ-Link Pte Ltd
ManagerTransitLink Pte Ltd
CurrencySGD ($0 minimum load, $500 maximum load)
Credit expiry5 years
Auto rechargeEZ-Reload
GIRO Auto topup
Validity
Retailed
  • TransitLink ticket offices
  • MRT passenger service centres
  • 7-Eleven stores
Variants
WebsiteEZ-Link
The back cover of the old EZ-Link card.
An old EZ-Link card reader on the entrance of an SMRT bus. There are usually two readers on both entrance and exit(s) of every public bus in Singapore.
General Ticketing Machines at the Expo MRT station, where commuters can add value to their EZ-Link card or purchase a Standard Ticket.

Established in 2001, the first generation of the card was based on the Sony FeliCa smart card technology and was promoted as the means for speedier boarding times on the city-state's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and public bus services. It had a monopoly on public transportation fare payments in Singapore until September 2009, when the NETS FlashPay card, which had a monopoly over Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) toll payments, entered the market for transportation payments (and vice versa). EZ-Link cards are sold, distributed and managed by EZ-Link Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Singapore's Land Transport Authority. In September 2009, the new CEPAS EZ-Link card replaced the original EZ-Link card.

DevelopmentEdit

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) introduced its pilot testing of the card to 100,000 volunteers on 26 February 2000. Initially for commuters who made at least five trips on MRT/LRT per week, the card was branded as the "Super Rider". As an incentive, volunteers were given 10% rebate off their regular fare during the one-month period.[1]

Two further tests were made, with the scheme extending to frequent bus users on selected routes, on an invitation basis.[2] The S$134.6 million contract was awarded to the ERG Motorola Alliance to supply 5 million cards and readers.

In 2002, the Land Transport Authority launched the ez-link card for use in public transport.

Uses of the cardEdit

The card is commonly used in Singapore as a smartcard for paying transportation fees in the city-state's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and public bus services. The EZ-Link function is also used in concession cards for students in nationally recognised educational institutes, full-time national service personnel serving in the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Singapore Police Force or senior citizens who are over 60 years old.

The system is similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong and Touch 'n Go in Malaysia.

The system and the card's use have since been expanded to retail, private transport, government services, community services, educational institutes and vending machines.

From 2009, Singapore motorists can use ez-link cards in their new generation In-Vehicle Unit to pay for Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) and Electronic Parking System (EPS) payments.[3] In August 2016, EZ-Link introduced a post-paid ERP payment service called EZ-Pay.[4]

In April 2018, the card also gained acceptance on NETS terminals in hawker centres across Singapore.[5]

In September 2018, the EZ-Link card became part of a unified cashless payment system rolled out at 500 hawker stalls across Singapore.[6]

On 17 October 2007, StarHub and EZ-Link Pte Ltd declared the start of a 6-month trial on phones with an embedded EZ-Link card.[7]

In March 2016, EZ-Link concluded a trial with the Land Transport Authority and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore on the use of compatible mobile phones with Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to make public transport payments.[8]

Card VariationsEdit

 
Iron Man EZ-Link Charm
 
EZ-Link Hello Kitty EZ-Charm

In 2007, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Singapore Tourism Board launched the Singapor Tourist Pass produced by EZ-Link to offer tourists unlimited rides on Singapore's public transport system.[9]

In 2015, EZ-Link introduced 'EZ-Charms', trinkets that have full EZ-Link functionalities, such as the Hello Kitty EZ-Charms,[10] that received overwhelming response.[11]

In 2017, EZ-Link launched EZ-Link Wearables, wearable devices that have full EZ-Link functionalities such as fitness trackers.[12]

System for e-Payments (SeP)Edit

A trial to test the system was held from 29 August to 28 October 2008. The trial, which involved some 5,000 commuters, generated 1.7 million transactions and has confirmed that the system is ready for revenue service. Developed in-house by the LTA, SeP is built on the Singapore Standard for Contactless ePurse Application (CEPAS) which allows any smart card that complies with the standard to be used with the system and in a wide variety of payment applications.

With SeP, commuters were able to use cards issued by any card issuer for transit purposes as long as the card complied with the CEPAS standard and included the transit application. Commuters could eventually use CEPAS-compliant cards for Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) payments in vehicles fitted with the new generation In-vehicle Unit (IU), Electronic Parking System (EPS) carparks and other electronic payment systems that supported the CEPAS standard.

During the free one-for-one exchange exercise, most of them replaced their cards during the direct card replacement exercise in 2009. Others seemed to replace new cards after the old cards were out of value and become collectors' value. The new EZ-Link cards also have a higher storage capacity of S$500.00 instead of the previous S$100.00 limit but most passengers keep to the $100 limit in case of loss of card.[13]

When the old cards could not be used from 1 October 2009, faregates and EZ-Link card readers continue to support the old EZ-Link card function, but it would say "INVALID CARD - PLEASE USE CORRECT CARD". The old EZ-link card function is no longer supported on all MRT and LRT stations.

EZ-Link AppEdit

The EZ-Link App is a free mobile application developed by EZ-Link that is available on the Google Play Store and App Store. It was first released as an Android-exclusive app in 2013 under the name ‘My EZ-Link Mobile App’[14], and is used for:

  • Topping up of ez-link cards and Concession Cards using NFC-enabled Android phones and with debit cards, credit cards and PayLah! as payment options.
  • Registering for EZ-Reload, an auto top -up service with Mastercard or Visa credit card. In August 2018, EZ-Link moved the application for EZ-Reload from web-based forms to the EZ-Link app, shortening the approval process to minutes.[15]
  • Earning of points when paying with EZ-Link to redeem rewards. From February 2018, EZ-Link card users can get one LinkPoint by NTUC Link for every S$2 spent using EZ-Link at retail stalls.[16]
  • Registering for EZ-Pay, a post-paid card-less service for ERP and EPS payments launched in 2016 that removes the hassle of topping up CashCard for motorists in Singapore.[17]
  • On-the-go checking of transactions and balance of EZ-Link.[18]
  • Blocking of EZ-Link when misplaced and recovering of remaining value.

Technical dataEdit

 
A defaced EZ-Link card, revealing the internal circuitry.

The EZ-Link card operates on a radio frequency (RF) interface of 13.56 MHz at 212 kbit/s, with the potential for communication speeds in excess of 847 kbit/s. It employs the Manchester bit coding scheme for noise tolerance against distance fluctuation between the card and the contactless reader, and implements the Triple DES algorithm for security.

PricingEdit

An adult EZ-Link card costs S$12, inclusive of a S$5 non-refundable card cost and a $7 card value.[19][20]

There was a problem with commuters attempting to evade paying the full fare, with the prior magnetic farecard system.

Under the EZ-Link system, when a person taps his card on the entry card reader, the system deducts the maximum fare payable from his bus stop to the end of the bus route. If he taps his card on the exit reader when he disembarks, the system will return an amount based on the remaining bus stages to the end of the bus route. If he fails to tap the card on the exit reader when he disembarks, the entry card reader would have already deducted the maximum fare payable to the end of the bus route.[21]

Card top-upEdit

EZ-Link card holders could top up their cards in several ways including General Ticketing Machines at MRT stations and bus stations, TransitLink Add Value Machine, TransitLink Ticket Office, Passenger Service Centre, convenience stores, ATM machines, AXS Stations, People’s Association Community Clun and Water Venture Outlets and EZ-Reload.

Card holders used to be able to top up using EZ-Online, an online service provided by EZ-Link. This service allowed commuters to view their past transaction records, download discount coupons onto their cards, pay for shopping using the EZ-Link card at selected online merchants (up to S$100 per transaction), and top up their EZ-Link card online through any connected Sony Felica contactless smart card reader.

EZ-Online ceased operation on 6 September 2017.[22]

In July 2009, EZ-Link launched EZ-Reload, an auto top-up service for the new CEPAS-compliant EZ-Link card.

In 2013, EZ-Link launched the world's first NFC Mobile Application for EZ-Link card top-ups.[23]

From December 2017 onwards, card holders could top up their EZ-Link card using the EZ-Link App on NFC-enabled phones.

Since August 2018, card holders who link their Mastercard and Visa credit or debit cards to EZ-Reload no longer need to pay convenience fees for their top-ups.[24]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Karamjit Kaur (25 January 2000). "100,000 commuters needed for smart card test". The Straits Times. p. 33.
  2. ^ "Bus pilot test for the Contactless Smart Card" (Press release). SMRT Corporation. 2000. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007.
  3. ^ "LTA launches dual-mode in-vehicle unit for cars" (Press release). Land Transport Authority. 2009.
  4. ^ "EZ-Link launches post-paid ERP payment service". CNA (news channel). 2016.
  5. ^ "EZ-Link cards can be used to pay for meals at hawker centre". CNA (news channel). 2018.
  6. ^ "Unified cashless payment system rolled out at 500 hawker stalls across Singapore". The Straits Times. 2019.
  7. ^ "EZ-Link and Starhub celebrate the launch of their near-field communication phone trial with 1000 handsets distributed to their customers" (Press release). EZ-Link. 2007.
  8. ^ "Pay for bus, train rides by tapping your phone". The Straits Times. 2016.
  9. ^ "Travel on public transport system a cinch for tourists" (Press release). Land Transport Authority. 2007.
  10. ^ "Say hello to kitty charms for EZ-Link". The Straits Times. 2015.
  11. ^ "Almost 10000 fans queue for hello kitty EZ-Link charms islandwide, some from midnight". The Straits Times. 2015.
  12. ^ "EZ-Link introduces wearable devices". CNA (news channel). 2017.
  13. ^ "New features with CEPAS-compliant EZ-Link card". Wayback Machine. 2008.
  14. ^ "New app turns your smartphone into a top-up machine for ez-link cards". The Straits Times. 2013.
  15. ^ "EZ-Link promotes e-payment adoption with free auto top-up, loose change top-up". Business Times. 2018.
  16. ^ "Pay at stores using EZ-Link card and earn NTUC linkpoints". The Straits Times. 2018.
  17. ^ "EZ-Pay removes the hassle of topping up CashCard for motorists in Singapore". The Straits Times. 2016.
  18. ^ "7 things you probably didn't know about your EZ-Link card". AsiaOne. 2019.
  19. ^ "EZ-Link FAQs". EZ-Link. 2018.
  20. ^ "Where the cards are sold". Wayback Machine. 2013.
  21. ^ "Useful tips on using EZ-Link card on buses" (Press release). Translitlink. 2005.
  22. ^ "EZ-Online". EZ-Link. 2017.
  23. ^ "New app turns your smartphone into a top-up machine for EZ-Link cards". The Straits Times. 2013.
  24. ^ "EZ-Link promotes E-payment adoption with free auto top-up". The Straits Times. 2018.

External linksEdit