Singapore motorists can soon kiss their ERP troubles goodbye, with a new virtual CashCard that is set to be available from Thursday (28 May).
According to The Straits Times, the vCashCard was created through a collaboration between NETS and the Land Transport Authority (LTA), and it will make things much easier for motorists: even if a CashCard is low on cash or absent in the in-vehicle unit (IU), users will be able to pay ERP charges without facing penalties or additional administrative charges.
Currently, motorists who pass through ERP gantries without sufficient amounts in their CashCard have to pay an additional $10 in administrative fees, along with the ERP charges they owe. By registering for a virtual wallet with their debit/credit or bank account, though, motorists will automatically get $50 topped up onto their CashCards whenever their cards’ values fall below $10. This amount will be deducted from registered credit/debit cards or bank accounts.
Likewise, when motorists pass through ERP gantries without physical CashCards, ERP charges will be deducted directly from their vCashCard accounts. Speaking with Straits Times, NETS chief executive Jeffery Goh elaborated on the convenience that the vCashCard will bring:
It’s worry-free, there’s no monthly maintenance fee except for a top-up fee from time to time when you run out of cash.”
While the automatic top-ups will be made at a cost of 50 cents, motorists who register using United Overseas Bank cards or iBanking accounts will have this fee waived for the first year. It is unclear whether this move will be a hit or miss: despite the convenience that it undoubtedly provides, the top-up fee of $0.50 could put off some motorists since it could amount to a substantial amount over time. Motorists will have to do the math before they decide whether to not to subscribe to this new service.
The vCashCard is just one in a series of initiatives that NETS is rolling out this year as part of its 30th anniversary: later this year, vCashCard will make its way to electronic carpark systems, which means that motorists will soon enjoy this privilege almost everywhere they go. For motorists who find themselves constantly forgetting to top-up their CashCards, this development might just be the lifesaver they’ve been waiting for. Who knows? In a few years, the physical CashCard might become a thing of the past.