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COMMUTERS here know the pain of standing in a snaking queue, awaiting their turn to top up the balance in their Cepas cards at the general ticketing machines at train stations.
From January next year, the approximately 500 ticketing machines across the island will accept credit and debit cards, along with mobile-payment systems such as Apple, Samsung and Android Pay as payment options.
Topping up a Cepas card, which pays for train and bus rides, will involve far fewer steps, saving time.
To pilot the initiative, Transit Link has linked up with UOB in a move that will give holders of UOB credit cards a headstart on using this service, starting on Friday.
Commuters holding Visa, MasterCard or JCB cards issued by UOB will be able to insert these credit cards into the general ticketing machines or use contactless payment methods such as Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass to top-up their Cepas cards.
Mobile-payment systems such as UOB Mighty and Apple Pay (a UOB card has to be selected) will also work.
Until January, credit cards from other banks will not be able to perform such transactions; thereafter, all foreign and locally-issued credit and debit cards will be accepted. The full range of credit cards from banks supported by Apple, Samsung and Android Pay will also be available then, Transit Link said.
Transit Link chief executive Lee Yuen Hee told reporters at a media preview on Thursday that by using credit cards to top up the balance on their Cepas cards, commuters will not need to slot in cash or key in their PIN, which translates into time savings.
"The whole idea is to extend the cashless lifestyle that the public is used to in the retail space to the transit space."
He expressed hope that through the initiative, cashless top-up payments at the general ticketing machines will go up by at least 10 per cent.
At present, about two-thirds of payments made at these machines are cash payments, Transit Link said.
UOB has found that in a survey among 120 adult public transport commuters, 37 per cent said they preferred using contactless payment options when topping up their Cepas cards. The "enhanced convenience" from tapping with a smartphone or credit card was cited as the key factor, UOB noted.
Dennis Khoo, the bank's head of personal financial services in Singapore said: "Transit is an integral part of the consumer's daily life. Expanding contactless acceptance points to the general ticketing machines will further the adoption of such payments and reinforce the move towards a cashless economy."