EZ-Link is just like GST. We don’t know how it works exactly, but it’s always there, slowly but surely chipping away our hard-earned money in small, painless increments.
It’s time to change that.
… Uh, sorry, I didn’t mean the part about being leeched. I meant the part about knowing how EZ-Link works.
Being aware of the… unique intricacies of EZ-Link can not only enrich your daily public transport commute, but also potentially help you save a bit of time and/or money.
7 things you didn’t know about your EZ-Link card in Singapore
Are you ready? Let’s dive into the world of EZ-Link with these 7 fun (and sometimes useful) facts.
1. You can download the EZ-Link app to check balance & top up online
I’d start this article off with an explanation of how EZ-Link works, but I could not understand either the official EZ-Link website or the NLB encyclopedia entry.
All I know is that it’s a prepaid stored-value card with some kind of verification system, so you can’t hack your EZLink card and make it believe its balance is always $50.
Checking how much you have on your card is pretty simple, and you can easily download and use the EZ-Link app. The EZ-Link mobile app is a pretty easy way for you to manage your EZ-Link card (or cards, you baller).
You need to register for an account with your NRIC/MyInfo via Singpass and then add your EZ-Link cards to it by entering their 16-digit CAN number on the back. Cards that are linked to your NRIC/MyInfo via Singpass should simply appear on the screen too.
Then you can do the following:
- Perform a quick EZ-Link balance check
- Check the transaction history of each EZ-Link card
- Disable a lost EZ-Link card
- Enable EZ-Link auto top up i.e. EZ-Reload
- [Only for NFC-enabled phones] Top up your EZ-Link card
- Pay merchants that accept EZ-Link payments via SGQR codes
- Pay Alipay+ merchants in Japan
But the best feature of the app is….
2. Redeem rewards with every dollar spent on your EZ-Link
Unless you already have the EZ-Link app installed, you probably didn’t realise that you can actually earn rewards points every time you tap your EZ-Link card.
Link your EZ-Link card on the app to earn 1 point for every 10 cents spent. This includes non-transport spending too, like when you use your EZ-Link card to pay for ERP or Koi bubble tea (yes it’s accepted).
After you’ve accumulated enough points, you can redeem them for rewards. These are always rotating and some are kinda crap, but there are usually a few good ones.
Here’s a few I picked that are now available:
|EZ-Link reward||Rewards points||EZ-Link spending required|
|25% off 9 holes of mini golf at Holey Moley Golf Club||30||$3|
|$29 Filler Lash Lift for 1st trial at Kreative BeauLab||50||$5|
|$7 off on Shopee for new users (with min. spend of $15)||100||$10|
|$120 off OSIM uCheck Smart Blood Pressure Monitor + Free Health Sole||100||$10|
|$9 off first ezbuy order||100||$10|
|$5 off all other ezbuy orders (existing users)||100||$10|
|30% off Nintendo Switch Controllers at Hainah.com||250||$25|
|85% off CATCHPLAY+ movie plan at $6.90 (U.P. $47.70)||300||$30|
|1 for 1 Unlimited Darts Gaming||500||$50|
*Rewards are correct as of the time of writing. For more information, you can log in to the EZ-Link app and browse the Rewards that are available.
3. Need to top up your EZ-Link card urgently? You might be slapped with a “convenience fee”
While MRT commuters can simply top up their cards at the MRT station’s general ticketing machines, running out of money is a real headache for those of us who take the bus.
It means you have dash to the nearest 7-11 or ATM and top it up, otherwise you’ll be stuck with no way to get to work the next day. But convenience comes with a price tag of $0.20 to $0.50 per top up.
To prevent such charges, you should familiarise yourself with the different ways to top up your EZLink card and know which ones are free:
|Where to do EZLink top ups||Service fee(s)|
|MRT stations / bus interchanges||Free|
|Community Centre top up machines||Free|
|7-Eleven||$0.50 per top up|
|ATMs (DBS/POSB and OCBC)||$0.20 per top up|
|AXS machines||$0.20 per top up|
|EZ-Reload auto top up (Visa / Mastercard)||Free|
|EZ-Reload auto top up (GIRO)||$1 application fee. $2 per unsuccessful top up|
The most fuss-free way to top up your EZ-Link card is to register for EZ-Reload auto top up, where you link your EZ-Link card to a credit or debit card.
You need to download the EZ-Link app in order to apply for EZ-Reload. You’ll get an activation which you’ll need to manually punch in at a General Ticketing Machine, after which your stored value will automatically replenish and be charged to your card.
4. Apart from an EZ-Link card, you can also use EZ-Link charms
Picture this: It’s Monday. You wake up tired, angry and hungry. You drag your sorry ass to the MRT station and attempt astral projection for the next 45 minutes while you stand cheek-to-jowl an unsavoury mouth-breather who is also alighting at Tanjong Pagar.
As you inch infinitesimally towards the MRT gantry, the crowd halts en masse as the gantry repeatedly screams “Beep-beep-beep-beep-BEEP! Beep-beep-beep-beep-BEEP!” while someone frantically fumbles with her wallet.
Horrible, isn’t it? The world would be a less homicidal place if EZ-Link cards didn’t exist, or if people thought to fish our their travel cards from their overstuffed wallets.
If you’re blushing because you’re a chronic card fumbler, consider switching to an attractive EZ-Link charm instead.
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EZ-Link charms function in exactly the same way as an EZ-Link card (including top ups and all), only you hang it from your bag/phone/septum piercing so as not to confuse the EZ-Link machines with the 37 loyalty and credit cards in your purse.
Unfortunately they’re not available all the time – you have to check EZ-Link’s Instagram to stay on top of the limited edition charms. They also cost a fair bit too – anything from $14.90 (Pokemon) to $28 (Hello Kitty) – and there’s no load value.
5. Concession cards can only be purchased from TransitLink directly
Umm, I totally neglected to mention that all of the above only applies to you if you’re a regular adult EZ-Link card holder.
If you want to apply for or replace a bus/MRT concession card, you’ll have to go through TransitLink directly – either their website, app, or a TransitLink ticket office. You can’t buy or manage your concession card through the EZ-Link app.
For the uninitiated, concession cards function in much the same way as the usual EZ-Link cards, except they give you discounted fares. You can only get them if you’re a student, NSF, senior citizen, person with disabilities, or lower-income worker under the Workfare Transport scheme.
You can also buy monthly passes that give you unlimited rides on all MRTs and basic bus services. The adult pass isn’t really worth it, though.
|Concession card group||Monthly cost|
|Adults (no concession)||$128|
|NSFs, university undergrads||$90.50|
|Senior citizens (60 years old and above), persons with disabilities||$64|
|Students (up to diploma)||$54|
6. EZ-Link cards do expire or get lost. Here’s how to get a refund
All EZ-Link cards expire after 5 years. You can bring your expiring/expired EZ-Link card to any TransitLink Ticket Office by 31 Dec 2020 to get a 1-for-1 replacement for $3. They’ll also refund any leftover value inside the expired EZ-Link card.
To avoid having to pay $3 for absolutely nothing, you can try this hack from Redditor jieqint – you can apply for a credit cards with integrated EZ-Link function, such as the Citi SMRT card:
- Cash Back on Eligible Spend
- Cash Back Cap per year
- Min. Spend per month
The bank should send you a replacement card before the EZ-Link expires, even if you haven’t gotten to the credit card’s expiry date yet.
You can also get a refund for unexpired EZ-Link cards at MRT station Passenger Service Centres and TransitLink Ticketing Offices.
On to lost EZ-Link cards. When you lose your EZ-Link card, whoever picked it up can use your stored value on a big McNuggets spree at McDonald’s or whatever, because there’s no verification needed to tap the card.
So if you lose the card, you should block it immediately on the EZ-Link app or call 64968300 (8am to 6pm) to report it. This is especially important if you’ve enabled EZ-reload! You can claim up to $15 in unauthorised transactions after the card is reported as lost.
7. Yes, there are actually alternatives to EZ-Link
If you’re completely sick and tired of EZ-Link’s buggy app and the fact that you can’t use your EZ-Link anywhere other than on public transport and at a few merchants, you might wonder if there are any alternatives to this stored value behemoth.
Well, your dreams have come true! Thanks to TransitLink’s SimplyGo programme, you no longer need to go through the hassle of topping up your card.
Instead, you just need to tap your credit/debit card as per normal and you’ll be billed for your transport spending at the end of the month.
SimplyGo is great if you want to hit your minimum spend to get bonus cashback. Some cards even allow you to earn cashback on your day-to-day public transport spending, because those count as “contactless transactions”.
- Cash Back on Online Spend & Visa Contactless
- Up to 5%
- Min. Spend
- Cash Back Cap
- Up to S$75
- Cash Back
- Up to 10%
- Cash Back Cap per month
- Min. Spend per month on Total Purchases
See this article for more tips on how you can save more time and money on public transport.
Found these EZ-Link hacks useful? Share this article with your friends!
Singapore Public Transport: 5 Tips to Save Money on Bus & MRT Fares
Making Sense of Dash, DBS PayLah, GrabPay, Liquid Pay, AliPay, FavePay & Other Cashless Payments
5 Chilling (Yet Probable) Consequences Of Hawker Centres Going Cashless
What Is SimplyGo (Formerly ABT) & Should You Ditch Your EZLink Card?