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Singapore-Taiwan cross-border contactless card in the works

EZ-Link and Taiwan company EasyCard will be developing the card to allow Singaporeans to pay for public transport or admission tickets to local attractions in Taiwan, and vice versa.

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans will soon be able to access public transport and retail options while in Taiwan, and the same is true for Taiwanese travellers visiting the city-state.

EZ-Link and its Taiwanese counterpart, EasyCard, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday (June 2) to jointly develop a cross-border, multi-functional contactless card.

The card, named Cross Border Combi Card, will allow people to pay for anything from public transportation to admission tickets to local attractions. It will contain separate "purses" to store both Singapore and Taiwanese currencies, according to the companies.  

"You don't have to buy another card." said EZ-Link's CEO Nicholas Lee. "You can always use that same card. You have a peace of mind when you come back to Singapore, (because) that balance of money left in that foreign currency can be refunded back to you, or transferred back to your Singapore dollar purse."

EZ-Link says it's targeting more of such tie-ups with other cities, which share similarities with Singapore. It already has similar project with its Guangdong counterpart.

"We have had dialogues with many, many countries," said Mr Lee. "Our primary objective was to focus on countries with similar infrastructure, so that there is a basis that we can start (a) discussion on. But we usually focus on (deals with) countries that can benefit two countries. That means where tourism is strong between the two countries."

Last year, the number of Singaporeans who visited Taiwan grew about 11 per cent to 360,000, compared to 2012. In the same period, some 400,000 Taiwanese came to Singapore - 23 per cent more than in 2012.

"If people can travel around the city more easily, there will be more people coming to Taipei," said EasyCard's Chairman Chang Chai-Sheng, "it will encourage more people to visit Taipei, so that way, it will bring a lot of advantage to our economy."

EZ-Link is in talks to roll out similar services with its counterparts in Japan, South Korea and China and hopes the new card will be ready within a year.

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