Singapore nears launch of mass-transit open-loop contactless payments pilot

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A broad pilot to test contactless open-loop payments on Singapore's trains and buses will go live March 20, according to local mass-transit authorities and Mastercard, which is sponsoring the initiative.

Singapore’s Land Transit Authority (LTA) and Mastercard said the trial will be the first in Asia to deploy account-based ticketing and it will soon expand from contactless cards to Near Field Communication-enabled devices and wearables, according to a Tuesday press release.

Consumers with Singapore-issued contactless credit and debit cards whose banks support the pilot will be eligible to use cards from participating banks to tap and pay on any local public buses and trains when the test goes live in a few weeks, Mastercard said.

Participants who register their cards through LTA’s website or its mobile app will be able to track their journey and fare-payment history, according to Mastercard.

“Singapore is one of the first few cities in the world to test this fare payment system for public transport,” said Ngien Hoon Ping, the LTA’s chief executive, in the release.

Contactless payment acceptance is steadily expanding in Singapore and many taxis already accept NFC payments, added Deborah Heng, Mastercard Singapore’s country manager.

Singapore’s government is encouraging several new payments technology initiatives as part of its commitment to becoming a “smart city.”

EZ-Link, a Singaporean transit and payment card issuer, in January announced a line of fitness wearables with embedded payments technology.

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