Singapore TransitLink Goes EMV

Japanese media reports that Singapore TransitLink has gone all in with EMV contactless for transit with the SimpleGo program starting today, April 4. Mastercard is the first credit/debit card approved for the program with Visa to follow later this year. Using bank cards for transit is what Transit for London (TfL) has been doing for years with other transit systems such as Taiwan MTR adding support recently.

The Japanese report also mentions that EMV contactless cards loaded in Apple Pay/Google Pay/Samsung Pay etc. will work but judging from the Apple Pay experiences during the long beta test period, it is slow and not as reliable as EZ-Link transit cards.

There is no mention of the native EZ-Link transit card being hosted on digital wallets. I suspect that Singapore’s decision in 2009 to dump FeliCa for their own CEPAS technology could make that difficult as CEPAS use is limited to Singapore, and there is no business plan attached to sell the technology in other markets which FeliCa (Sony) or MiFare (NXP) do.

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Taiwan EasyCard lands on Samsung Pay

Yahoo Taiwan reports EasyCard coming to Samsung Pay

Back in August 2018 when the Taiwanese Representative Office in Tokyo announced that EasyCard and iPass would accept credit card recharge starting in October, I suspected backend support was being put in place for Apple Pay support. I was half right, the addition of credit card recharge was a sign that the cards were getting ready for digital wallets but not Apple Pay. Yahoo Taiwan reported that Samsung is negotiating with the EasyCard Corporation to bring the MIFARE based EasyCard to Samsung Pay in 2019 via a software update. That finally happened April 11.

EasyCard is a stored value (SV) transit card similar to Suica used for both transit (MRT, Metro, buses, ferries, etc.) and e-money purchases. It will be the 2nd Samsung Pay ‘exclusive’ after Hong Kong’s Smart Octopus launch in December 2017 which is FeliCa based like Apple Pay Suica but still exclusive to Samsung Pay.

Apple Pay does support MIFARE cards in iOS 12/watchOS 5 which is the technology behind the recently added contactless student ID cards. Technically there is nothing standing in the way of getting EasyCard and iPass on Apple Pay. The sooner all SV transit cards are natively hosted and widely available on digital wallet platforms (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) the better, it only becomes truly useful when everything is well integrated.

Update
EasyCard on Samsung Pay formal launch announcement on April 11