I have seven EZ-Link playing cards.
I put one in each pockets, key pouch and bag to accommodate my behavior of switching luggage to match totally different outfits and my incapability to recollect to maneuver the cardboard from bag to bag.
For higher or worse, it’s the solely plastic I nonetheless cannot go away home with out at this time, though, for me, its use hardly extends past public transport cost.
Even then, my relationship with the cardboard is much from a cheerful one.
I have a persistent worry of draining its saved worth and be flashed with the “insufficient value” signal when tapping on card readers on buses and at prepare stations. And topping-up the cardboard is much from a painless expertise.
So, whereas I used to be cheered that the EZ-Link company is pushing to increase the usage of the cardboard, I used to be upset it did not resolve the topping-up concern.
Over the final two weeks, it renewed its retail push by forging unprecedented ties with e-payment big Nets and NTUC Link, the social enterprise managing the Plus! client loyalty rewards programme.
These strikes sign EZ-Link cannot go it alone within the more and more aggressive e-payment scene right here, with extra new gamers akin to GrabPay and AliPay eyeing its lunch.
Specifically, EZ-Link’s tie-up with Nets permits holders of ez-link playing cards, together with concession playing cards, to pay for meals and drinks at about 1,000 hawker stalls from April.
Using the ez-link card to pay for meals, items and taxi rides can even earn customers NTUC LinkFactors, which can be utilized to offset purchases at FairPrice supermarkets or Caltex petrol kiosks, amongst different companions.
Yet, it’s altering nothing about how the cardboard could be topped up.
Currently, folks can high up their playing cards with out incurring additional prices at:
• Transit Link Add Value Machines, and General Ticketing Machines positioned at MRT stations and chosen bus interchanges, and
• EZ-Link Top-up Machines at People’s Association Community Clubs.
Top-up places should widen past these. To ensure, EZ-Link playing cards may also be topped up on the 1,500 plus ATMs of main banks – DBS Bank, POSB and OCBC Bank – throughout the island, together with in retail places and at 7-Eleven and Cheers comfort shops. But these choices appeal to a 20 cents comfort charge.
For the ez-link card to realize extra traction within the retail sector, the topping up of its saved worth has to contain much less work and definitely not appeal to a comfort charge.
The most handy top-up choice to most working adults is the EZ-Reload, launched in July 2009, that permits customers to mechanically reload their playing cards when the saved worth falls under a threshold by charging to their credit score or debit playing cards. Until at this time, shoppers nonetheless have to pay a 25 cents comfort charge – except they use a MasterCard or Visa card issued by DBS Bank or Citibank.
In the brand new economic system, these charges have to be reviewed. They must be borne by the service supplier and thought of as a price of doing business. There are not any such charges levied on shoppers in Hong Kong for topping up their Octopus playing cards.
Also have to be relooked is an space the place policy-making and business curiosity collide.
First, the EZ-Reload function can’t be used to high up the concession playing cards of youngsters and the aged, as concession playing cards are issued by the Land Transport Authority and never EZ-Link.
Also, since Sept 1 final 12 months, money top-ups have not been obtainable at passenger service centres in 11 MRT stations. By 2020, self-service ticketing machines in stations and bus interchanges will settle for solely cashless top-ups.
From the policy-maker’s perspective, the transfer will increase productiveness as it is going to power the 69 per cent of Singaporeans who use money as their most popular top-up methodology to go cashless.
But this transfer will have an impact downstream. It might be extra of a problem to high up the EZ-Link card.
And like me, folks might attempt to not drain its worth unnecessarily.