Transportation

TransitLink’s SimplyGo (Formerly ABT) is Here. Should You Ditch Your EZLink Card?

transitlink abt simplygo

Clara Lim

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After letting account-based ticketing (ABT) languish in “pilot” mode for two whole years, the folks at TransitLink finally got their act together and are launching it for real. Presenting, at long last, SimplyGo.

via GIPHY

As its name suggests, SimplyGo is very simple. It’s the latest incarnation of TransitLink’s two-year-old pilot programme called ABT (account-based ticketing), which is a system that lets you pay for public transport with your credit card. Only Mastercard is supported for now; Visa cards will be rolled out later this year. 

“Uh, okay. Noted with thanks,” you say. “I’ll just continue using my EZLink card because it’s safe and familiar and feels like home. Also my mom got me the limited edition Pompompuri card.”

Fair enough. But might you be missing out on credit card promotions? Let’s have a look at what you can get.

 

Any credit card promotions for SimplyGo?

Fat chance of getting Singaporeans to change their behaviour without dangling a promotion. TransitLink knows this, so they’ve partnered with various banks to offer the following carrots for using their Mastercards:

Credit card issuer SimplyGo promotion Promotion period
Bank of China 20% cashback capped at $40/month N/A (permanent feature)
ICBC 20% cashback capped at $20 1 Apr to 30 Jun
UOB 20% cashback capped at $15 4 Apr to 31 May
Standard Chartered Up to $10 cashback 4 Apr to 31 May
OCBC 10% rebate capped at $10 4 Apr to 31 May
YouTrip Top up YouTrip card and get $3 back 11 Apr to 14 May

If you’re serious about earning rebates from public transport spending, then the BOC Qoo10 Mastercard is a must-have. The trouble is that there’s a minimum spending requirement of $600, and public transport spending (funnily enough) doesn’t count towards it.

Otherwise, you can opt for an ICBC credit card – neither the Global Travel Mastercard nor Chinese Zodiac Mastercard has a minimum spend – or a UOB credit card for 20% rebates.

There’s also supposed to be 50% cashback with Citibank cards and 10% off with CIMB, but neither website has a promotional page up yet. I’ll update this article when they’re up.

 

Promotions aside, is there any benefit to using SimplyGo?

You’d think that switching to a credit card permanently for your public transport spending is a good idea. Who wouldn’t want to earn miles, rewards points, or bonus cashback with that $80 or $100 that you’re already spending every month, right?

But as it turns out, most credit cards have already de-listed TransitLink and/or TransitLink ABT from its list of eligible spending. So after the promos end, you most likely won’t be able to earn miles or rebates with SimplyGo.

Of course, there should probably be another round of promos once SimplyGo launches Visa support. Stay tuned for a card update then.

Personally, I might actually ditch my EZLink card permanently because I just found out that you can use Apple Pay (or Google or Samsung Pay) if your credit card has that function. It’s a little bit fumble-y having to do Touch ID authentication each time you tap in/out, but it means one fewer card to carry, which is totally in line with my #minimalistgoals.

 

How do you sign up for SimplyGo?

Step 1: Create an account on TransitLink’s SimplyGo website or the TL SimplyGo app.

simplygo app
Yes, it’s the one with a terrible App Store rating.

Step 2: Add a credit card to your account.

Step 3: Tap in and out as per normal while taking the bus or MRT, except using your registered credit card instead of EZLink.

Step 4: At the end of the month, you’ll see your consolidated transport spending reflected on your credit card bill. Don’t worry about being overcharged – public transport rates are standard.

Alternatively, you can also enable SimplyGo at the General Ticketing Machine with your Mastercard. You have to make sure it has a CEPAS logo at the back, though. (Infographic courtesy of Mastercard.)

 

Once again, it’s only for Mastercards. No Visa!

The biggest barrier to widespread adoption is that SimplyGo works only with Mastercard for now.

Yes. It’s been two years, and there’s still no Visa compatibility. Actually it does support Visa cards in theory, but you can only use it you’ve been “invited”). This is what it looks like if you try to add a Visa card to your account.

Given that most credit cards in Singapore are Visa, this is a huge pain in the ass. Visa support is expected to launch some time in 2019. Here’s hoping it won’t take another two years…

Have you tried ABT / SimplyGo? What do you think of it? Tell us in the comments.

 

Related articles

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your EZLink Card

7 Ways to Save Money & Time on Public Transport in Singapore

5 Chilling (Yet Probable) Consequences Of Hawker Centres Going Cashless 

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Clara Lim

I used to be MoneyDumb. I hung out at H&M every day and thought that a $50 lunch set was a good deal. These days, I spend my time researching the crap out of life and trying to maximise utility on micro-decisions. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.