Pay by watch in Singapore NFC trial

Sony, Singtel and the Land Transport Authority have teamed up in a Singapore NFC technology trial allowing commuters to ‘pay by watch’ on public transport.

Commuters wearing Sony SG50 SmartBands with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology will be able to make mobile payments on public transport in the future if the trial goes to plan.

The trial involves EZ-Link, NETS and TransitLink – and the LTA says it’s part of an on-going effort to leverage technology to bring greater convenience to commuters through new, innovative and convenient ways to pay for travel.

In addition to public transit, some 200 commuters in the trial will be able to use their SG50 SmartBand at a myriad of retail and merchant outlets including food and beverage outlets and libraries. They can also track their daily activities and sleep quality, and synchronise the measurements into their smartphones via Bluetooth for visual tracking and display.

LTA CEO Chew Men Leong said the combination of wearable technology that enables faster, easier and more convenient transit transactions, with mobile retail payment services and lifestyle/wellness tracking, is an exciting development for commuters.

“Insights provided by the trial will help LTA assess the performance of fare transactions using the smart band and gather feedback in assessing the potential use of wearable technology in public transit.”

Some 200 commuters will participate in the trial which ends on February 29 next year. During the trial, participants will wear the Sony SG50 SmartBand encoded with a digital CEPAS card designed for fast, convenient and reliable contactless payments on public transit.

The participants will only need to hold up their wrists to the fare card reader on buses and at MRT/LRT stations to pay for their journeys, making the travel experience faster and more convenient. To top-up the stored value in the band, participants simply need to place the band on the card reader of a top-up device, just as they would a transit card. For greater convenience, they can also opt to register for automatic top-up services.

For greater mobility, participants can establish a Bluetooth connection with the Singtel mWallet app to check their band’s stored value balance and transactions while on the move. In future, the wearable may also be topped up through the app, at a later stage.

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