LTA trials wireless payment for MRT rides with Sony SmartBand

Don't be surprised when you see commuters flicking their wrists at an MRT gantry

We thought attaching a Hello Kitty charm to your smartphone without digging through your bag for your EZ-Link card is the most fuss-free way to pay for your MRT rides.

Apparently, that’s old news. Because starting from today, you might spot a few commuters raising their wrists to the fare card readers on buses, MRT, or LRT trains. Look closer and you’ll notice a Sony SG0 SmartBand on their wrist. That is how you'll be paying for your bus, MRT or LRT rides in the future.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), in collaboration with Singtel, Sony, EZ-Link, NETS and TransitLink, have selected 200 commuters to test drive the new contactless payment system with Sony’s wearable tech. The trial, which lasts till 29 February 2016, allows commuters to not only pay for their rides with a flick of their wrist, but also top-up just as they would with a normal card.

Automatic top-ups are also allowed too, and LTA has commented on its Facebook post that it’s working with Singtel to allow top-ups through Singtel’s mWallet app. Which, by the way, is also one way to check the remaining value on the smartband. The partnership with EZ-Link also means that the smartband can be used to pay for items at stores that accept payment via EZ-Link terminals.

Don't forget, you’re using a smartband, which will monitor your movements, steps taken and how far you’ve traveled. We won’t mind if the app is updated to tell us how much we’ve spent for the day too.

While contactless payment is becoming the norm, what with apps such as Singtel’s Dash that lets you pay with apps, this is the first time a payment method utilises wearable technology in Singapore. It’s a hint of what’s to come, and especially useful given that wireless payment services such as Apple Pay isn’t launching in Singapore anytime soon.

At least, with this ongoing trial, it brings us closer to turning a fictional, futuristic world into reality.

[Source: LTA Facebook page]