SINGAPORE: Come Jan 1, 2016, transport operator ComfortDelGro will reinstate acceptance of Visa credit card payment on its taxis. However, a 10 per cent surcharge will still apply as it does for other credit cards, it announced on Wednesday (Dec 16).
The surcharge has been a long-running point of contention between Comfort and Visa. In July 2013, the taxi company pulled the plug on Visa payments after the credit card company issued it an ultimatum to stop, saying the levying of an administrative fee was a breach of contract terms. Comfort had previously said the fee was imposed to help it maintain payment terminals and systems, as well as pay bank fees and telco charges.
Visa told Channel NewsAsia it was not backing down from its stance against surcharges but said it reviewed the decision because of “developments in the transport industry over the past two years".
"Today, the popularity and wide availability of third-party taxi booking apps have provided cardholders with the choice to use their Visa cards for payments without incurring a surcharge," said Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei Ooi Huey Tyng. She said Visa has seen close to 700,000 transactions made on third-party booking apps monthly, without a surcharge.
The decision to reintroduce acceptance of Visa payments is to "provide a choice to cardholders, including the many tourists and business travellers to Singapore" who may not have access to third-party booking apps, she added.
Visa revealed that there were about 140,000 Visa transactions made in taxis every month, before the partnership paused in mid-2013. Of the transactions made each month, half of them came from international travellers.
"The 700,000 Visa transactions made on taxi booking apps each month today are free of surcharge and are mainly domestic transactions, which shows that consumers in Singapore will make their choices accordingly," said Ms Ooi.
COMMUTERS WELCOME ADDITIONAL MODE OF PAYMENT
Media production manager Grace Tan, who takes taxis about twice a month, welcomed the reintroduction of the Visa option in cabs. “I think having Visa is good since it's an additional mode of payment, but I'll think twice when paying since there is a 10 per cent surcharge,” the 24-year-old said.
IT consultant Emily Tan said: “It will be more convenient because majority of the cabs out there are Comfort cabs."
She added: “10 per cent is like the service charge that we normally pay in a restaurant so it feels like I’m paying for the service charge. I’ll be fine with it if I really needed a cab and only have my Visa card with me.”
Visa said it remains open to working with other local cab companies but is "currently focused on working with Comfort to roll out Visa acceptance in all their taxis". Full roll-out for Visa payment options across Comfort's entire fleet of 17,000 taxis will take about three months it said.