For over two decades, Touch ‘n Go has been the defacto cashless payment system for tolls and public transport services. Soon though, you’ll be able to pay for your LRT rides using your smartphone with the Touch ‘n Go app. The electronic payment provider is said to be kicking off a trial run this week for 1,000 users, until 31 July 2018.
The company will be enabling the Kelana Jaya LRT line to accept QR code payment using the Touch ‘n Go app. It will be Malaysia’s first QR transit system, where your fares will be automatically deducted from your mobile wallet in the app.
Note that the mobile wallet in the app operates separately from the Touch ‘n Go card and hence you’ll need to reload it separately. It’s a little silly that the two are siloed, but let’s hope there’s some integration in the near future. I mean if Starbucks that do it with their card and app, TnG can, too.
Also, this is an improved version of the beta app it introduced in March. After receiving backlash for its cumbersome in-app TNG card reload process, the TnG card reload channel through its Pick Up Device (PUD) was discontinued.
The mobile app is available for Android and iOS users, downloadable for free from respective app stores. The app supports reload via credit/debit card, online banking and via TNG reload machines (using reload PIN). An auto-reload function will be made available in the future.
To pay, you’ll need to fire up the app, tap on Pay, enter a pre-set 6-digit pin, then get the QR code displayed on your phone scanned at the terminal. Much like how you’d scan your way through the e-gate at the movies.
Making cashless payments at F&B outlets for instance will be similar to solutions like Boost, vcash, kiple, FavePay or QRPay.
Granted, it’s actually fewer steps to pick up your Touch ‘n Go card from your pocket, scan on the payment terminal at the LRT station and go, but it’s an alternative.
Besides, it will mean you’ll need to carry one less card in your wallet.
The Touch ‘n Go app isn’t just for paying for your commute, though. It’s a full-fledged mobile payment solution and so you’ll be able to use it for various other purposes. You’ll be able buy telco prepaid reloads, pay for telco postpaid bills, settle utilities like TNB, pay your Astro bill, and even buy movie tickets and book flights.
What? No NFC support?
There are certain quarters that think contact payments like NFC or a contactless one like VISA PayWave are more elegant, convenient solutions. I wouldn’t disagree. That said, NFC technology is only available on a certain percentage of mobile phones out there. QR code payment is a low-hanging fruit that’s easily implemented and low cost.
We only need to look as far as China, where QR code payment in the country is ubiquitous. Everyone and I mean everyone has a smartphone that can send and receive cash. Yes, even the buskers and beggars in the street. Which is mind-blowing.
The cashless future
Going cashless is inevitably the future, and the move by Touch ‘n Go is a baby step to making this nascent technology as ubiquitous as… using a Touch ‘n Go card.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said late last year that since 2009, the industry has invested nearly MYR900 million to enhance the e-payment infrastructure. The use of QR code payment systems benefit merchants by lowering operation costs and offer added convenience to consumers.
The industry has issued an interoperable Credit Transfer Framework (ICTF) to encourage the adoption of QR code payment. Through the framework, customers of banks and non-banks can transfer funds across the network using just their mobile phone number, IC or QR code.
There are currently 45.4 million debit cards and over 42.8 million mobile phone subscriptions in the country, making it ripe for the growth of e-payment systems.