2 of the more popular contactless cards that you can use in Singapore include the NETS FlashPay card and the EZ-Link card.
Since they have rather similar functions, which should you use?
Here’s what you need to know:
The difference between NETS FlashPay and EZ-Link
The NETS FlashPay and the EZ-Link cards are preloaded cards that can be used for contactless payments to different retailers, carpark, public transport and ERP charges. In terms of retail acceptance, you will be able to use the NETS FlashPay card at more merchants compared to the EZ-Link card.
Here’s a further comparison between these 2 cards:
History behind the companies
EZ-Link is actually a subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority (LTA), and was established as a card to make contactless payments for Singapore’s public transport, such as MRT or LRT.
If you’re wondering how to navigate the Sengkang or Punggol LRT stations, you can check out this guide here.
You can find out more about how DBS and POSB have different branding, but they are actually the same bank.
Type of Card
The main purpose of the EZ-Link card was as a smartcard to pay public transportation fares in Singapore. Eventually, it expanded to be used for ERP charges, and on NETS terminals at hawker centres.
Meanwhile, the NETS FlashPay card was started in 2009 as a multi-purpose contactless stored value smart card, where you were able to use it for:
- Public transport charges
- ERP gantries
- Retail stores
Apart from the NETS FlashPay card, NETS is also known for its CashCard, which can be used for carpark and ERP charges.
Where Can I Use These Cards?
Here are some of the areas where you can use either card:
Although EZ-Link has listed all of the merchants that accept the EZ-Link card, the NETS terminal is more prevalent and the NETS FlashPay card can be used at more merchants.
Maximum stored value
Purchasing a Card
Here are some of the places where you can purchase these cards:
|Other convenience stores||✓||✕|
|MRT Passenger Service Centres||✓||✓|
|Ecommerce platforms |
(e.g. Shopee / Lazada)
|NETS Customer Service Centres||✓||✕|
There are more places where you are able to purchase a NETS FlashPay card, compared to an EZ-Link card.
Here are the amounts that you’ll need to pay for either card:
Both cards require you to pay $5 for the cost of your card, which is non-refundable. The remaining $7 or $5 will be the initial stored value on your card.
It is possible to buy a NETS FlashPay for just $5, but you will not have any stored value in the card.
If you would like to have custom designs for either card, it is possible to do so at certain stores, including:
EZ-Link also offers charms, which are an alternative way for making payments!
Top Up Locations
There are numerous locations that you can use to top-up both the NETS Flashpay and EZ-Link cards, either via their native apps or online portal.
You are able to use your PayLah! account to top up your EZ-Link card, which cannot be done for NETS FlashPay.
Here are some of the physical places where you can top up these cards:
|Local bank ATMs||✓||✓|
Minimum Top Up
However, there is no minimum top up mentioned the FlashPay card.
EZ-Link has a rewards programme that allows you to earn 1 point for every 10 cents spent.
The EZ-LINK card has reward points earned every time you use it to make a payment. After spending 10 cents, you will earn 1 point.
Meanwhile, the NETS FlashPay cards have a Retailer Stored Value Programme (RSVP).
There are 2 types of rewards you can earn with RSVP:
- Dollar promotions (receive a discount on your transaction)
- Item promotions (purchase a set of items for a discount)
This is something similar to how FavePay works.
However, there are some caveats to this programme:
- RSVP is only available on NETS FlashPay cards or a merchant co-branded card
- You can only redeem the deals from the same merchant that you’ve purchased from before
- Your NETS FlashPay card can only store RSVP rewards from 20 different merchants
- Your RSVP wallet is different from your NETS FlashPay stored value
Overall, this rewards programme is not well utilised by both merchants and customers.
Here are the expiry dates for both cards:
|7 years||5 years|
For the NETS FlashPay card, you can check your expiry date using 2 ways:
- The NETS App (on iOS or Android)
- Top-up receipts or statement print receipts from the NETS Self Service Station and Top-Up Machine
To check the expiry date for the EZ-Link card, you can enter your CAN ID on their customer portal.
For the NETS FlashPay card, you have the option of claiming your refund up to 2 years after the card’s expiry date.
However, if your cash card has expired for more than a calendar year, you will incur a S$1.00 levy per month.
Meanwhile, you can get a new subsidised EZ-Link card when you exchange your expired EZ-Link cards at any TransitLink office.
A Refund Service Charge of $1 will be charged per month for cards that have expired for 2 years or more until the value is refunded or fully depleted.
Here is a summary of the comparison between these 2 cards:
|Type of card||Contactless||Contactless|
|Card uses||Retail spend|
Carpark and ERP charges
Carpark and ERP charges
|Rewards||Not much||EZ-Link Rewards|
(1 point for 10 cents)
|Card expiry date||7 years||5 years|
Both of these cards are rather similar to each other. However, you may be able to use the NETS FlashPay card at more retail merchants compared to the EZ-Link card.
One advantage that the EZ-Link card has over the NETS FlashPay card is that it has a rewards programme, which will benefit you if you’re a frequent user of EZ-Link.
Alternatively, you can use your debit or credit card for MRT or bus rides. Some of them allow you to earn rewards while spending on public transport, which is quite beneficial!
Moreover, you are able to add these cards to Apple Pay, so that you can use Apple Pay for public transport too!
Are you passionate about personal finance and want to earn some flexible income?