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All Systems Go

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What you need to know about the SimplyGo card, including the one important proviso for motorists

You couldn’t have missed the recent reports on SimplyGo. LTA had initially pushed for all adult commuters using EZ-Link cards to pay for their commutes on public transport to ensure that they are compatible with the SimplyGo system from 1 June this year. The only exception was for Concession card holders such as students, persons with disabilities, seniors and Workfare Transport Concession Scheme cardholders. This policy has now been changed. You will no longer have to change your EZ-Link card to SimplyGo if you haven’t already done so.

As the SimplyGo EZ-Link cards cannot be used to pay for ERP and carpark charges, motorists using the EZ-Link card for these payments do not need to make the switch to SimplyGo. They need to retain their EZ-Link motoring card or get a NETS motoring card.

While some people have not taken kindly to the idea of adapting to the SimplyGo system, the switch has several benefits for users. When paired together with the SimplyGo mobile app, users can top up their cards via their mobile phone, doing away with having to queue up at ticketing machines. Commuters can add their contactless bank cards (Mastercard, NETS and VISA) to their mobile wallet for fare payments. SimplyGo charges your public transport expenses directly to the debit or credit card of your choice. There are no transaction fees for top-ups. On top of that, users can keep track of their travel history and transactions through the app. They can also block lost cards to prevent unauthorised transactions through the app.

Despite the greater flexibility, the app has features some users may find less than convenient. One is that the SimplyGo app will take about 10 minutes to register top-ups which need to be seen through the app. Another key difference between SimplyGo payment and the traditional card-based system that has drawn flak among commuters is the fact that the fare charged and remaining card balance will not be displayed at Bus Fare Readers and MRT/LRT fare gates. So they will have to check their travel transactions and card balance on the SimplyGo app or at ticketing machines instead. This is because SimplyGo transactions are processed on the backend, like credit and debit card transactions, reveals the Land Transport Authority. SimplyGo EZ-Link cardholders are advised to maintain a minimum balance of S$3 in their card at all times. They can opt to receive low-balance alerts on the SimplyGo app by turning on notifications.

From March 18 until June 30, adults who had converted their travel cards to SimplyGo or bought a SimplyGo EZ-Link card between January 9 and 22 will have the option of getting an EZ-Link card that is compatible with the older ticketing system from ticket offices around the island. This will allow them to see fare deductions and card balances on fare readers. The collection process will be staggered based on the last digit of a user’s SimplyGo EZ-Link card identification number.

For instance, those with EZ-Link card identification numbers ending with the digit 1 or 2 will be scheduled to collect their cards between March 18 and 24, while those with numbers ending with 9 or 0 will be able to pick up the cards from April 15 to 28. Those who bought a Nets Prepaid Card from Jan 9 to Jan 22 can also collect a free Nets FlashPay card, which is compatible with the card-based system, at ticket offices from April 1 to June 30.

Those who had updated their cards or bought a SimplyGo EZ-Link card can continue to use their SimplyGo-compatible cards even after collecting the new cards. The advantage of SimplyGo is that you can enjoy free cashback/miles on your public transport expenses. You also don’t need a card, SimplyGo lets commuters pay for their transport fares by scanning their mobile phones or smart watch.

Differences between existing EZ-Link card and SimplyGo EZ-Link card