Travelled to 12 countries / regions

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Lived and worked in Singapore for 2 years



Asia > Singapore > Useful Info
Submitted on Sep 15, 2019 Useful Info

How to pay for public transportation (MRT & buses) in Singapore

  • Singapore has a highly developed system of public transportation, comprised mainly of its extensive MRT (metro), LRT (light rail), and buses
  • There are 3 main ways to pay for public transport in Singapore:
  1. EZ Link card
  2. Cash
  3. Credit card

  • Payment method 1) EZ Link card:
  • EZ Link card is the reloadable smart card that can be used to pay for all forms of public transportation, plus taxis, and even some restaurants. It's the preferred way to pay for locals to pay for public transportation due to the convenience; from my years in Singapore I'm guessing it's probably used by 99% of the locals
  • The card itself is standard credit-card sized and looks like this:User submitted photo of Singapore
  • How to get EZ Link card:
  • You can get the card at any MRT (metro) station, including the Changi International Airport MRT station (which is probably the most convenient place for travellers to get it)
  • You can also get it at any 7-Eleven convenience store in Singapore. These stores are literally everywhere in the country
  • You cannot use credit card to get these cards, only cash is accepted for payment
  • When you get the card, you pay either SGD$10 or $12, which will include a non-refundable $5 for the card itself, plus $5-$7 in stored value. The $5 non-refundable amount is basically the cost of the card, and unlike some other places where it's considered a deposit that you can get back when you return the card, EZ Link does not allow you to get it back
  • How to use the card: you tap the card to get onto a bus or into an MRT/LRT station, and tap again to exit, easy peasy
  • How to reload the card: you can reload at many places, including
  • Self-serve machines in any MRT station
  • Any 7-Eleven store
  • EZ-Link app for Android and iOS
  • For travellers, EZ Link also sells unlimited travel passes that can be used just like regular EZ Link cards. Check the official website for more information on these passes. I've never personally used them before, but based on their prices, I think they'll come out to be good value if you plan to ride more than 4 times a day on public transit. The other main difference is with these passes you don't have to pay anything non-refundable for the card, unlike the SGD$5 non-refundable cost for the regular EZ Link card
  • EZ Link official website: https://www.ezlink.com.sg

  • Payment method 2) Cash:
  • This goes without saying, you can use cash to pay for public transport in Singapore
  • I usually don't recommend paying for public transit by cash because it's just such a hassle, especially with buses since you need to get onto the bus fast and pay very quickly to avoid holding up the queue behind you
  • However, if you're planning to do just a layover trip into the city from the Changi Airport, it will come out to be cheaper to pay by cash instead of EZ Link card (due to the $5 non-refundable cost of the card itself)
  • How to pay by cash:
  • MRT: At every MRT station there will be automated machines with English instructions you can use to pay. It's a touch screen machine. You first click "Buy Standard Ticket", and then select your destination, and then you will be prompted to insert the cash. That's it. The machine will print a card that you will use to tap into the station with. This is a helpful YouTube video to show you the process:
  • Bus: you can pay by cash directly on board the bus. You need to drop exact fare into the little box next to the driver. It's best to look up beforehand exactly how much the fare is, because the you will not get any change back. The best way to find the fare is to use CityMapper app (https://citymapper.com), which is by far the most-used public transportation planning app in Singapore. You can of course tell the driver where your destination is and they will tell you how much you need to pay. You can watch this useful YouTube video to see the process:

  • Payment method 3) Credit card:
  • The last main payment method for public transportation in Singapore is credit cards. Specifically, only Visa and MasterCard are accepted at the moment
  • For most travellers, credit cards are definitely the most convenient form of payment method, and you can definitely use them to pay for MRT and buses in Singapore
  • However, you need to know that how you use the credit card is different for MRT than it is for buses:
  • For MRT:
  • You can use credit cards to pay for your ticket at the automated machine. Steps are very similar to cash payment described above (on the ticket machine click "Buy Standard Ticket", then pick your destination station, and then pay), the only difference is you will insert your Visa/MasterCard into the machine instead of cash
  • Additionally, if your Visa or MasterCard has contactless (i.e. if you see this symbol on your card), you can skip the ticket machine altogether and tap your credit card directly into the station, like this (this method also works for Apple Pay and Samsung Pay):User submitted photo of SingaporeAt your destination station, you will need to tap your credit card again as you exit. Note that this method, while convenient, will incur you a SGD$0.50 service charge per use if you use a non-Singapore issued Visa or MasterCard. If you have a Singapore-issued card, then there's no service charges. For more details on this contactless credit card option, check out: https://simplygo.transitlink.com.sg/FAQs
  • For buses:
  • The only way to pay for buses using credit card is to use a contactless Visa or MasterCard, and tap your card directly when you get on the bus (and of course again tap your credit card again when you exit the bus). You do not have the option to buy bus ticket at a machine by inserting/swiping your credit card, like you can do with MRT tickets. Again, for more details on this contactless credit card option, check out: https://simplygo.transitlink.com.sg/FAQs