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Touch N Go Embracing Cashless Payment Technology Through RFID Pilot Programme
September 14, 2018 News


The world is going increasingly cashless these days, but ASEAN nations like Malaysia have yet to fully embrace the concept despite a growing number of digital payment platforms springing up over the last couple of years. It is therefore only a matter of time for a company like Touch ‘n Go (TNG), which one could argue has had a monopoly transit payments (tolls, parking and public transportation) in Malaysia, to get in on the act before another organisation swoops in and seizes the market share.

The company is starting off by introducing their new RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) electronic toll payment system, which is currently in its pilot phase. The RFID implementation is set to replace the SmartTAG and manual TNG card systems already in place, to create a more seamless and smoother toll collection process for Malaysian road users. Big Community was invited to the Touch ‘n Go RFID Media Day in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, where members of the media were given the opportunity to be the early birds to test out the new technology.

Present at the event was the CEO of TNGSB & TNG Digital, Syahrunizam Samsudin, who said, “1997 was when Touch ‘n Go first launched its card. In 1999, it launched the first version of SmartTAG. It’s been a good 20 years. I think it’s about time that we in Malaysia take on a new technology that is cost-effective, that is valuable in terms of service that we can provide to Malaysian consumers. But more importantly, for the future of highways and public transport in general, to build a data-driven society that allows us to create more services for you.”

“The card infrastructure prevents us from doing this in a meaningful way because it has a very limited chip for memory and transactional purposes,” he continued. But in the days of cloud computing, digital wallets and IoT, where information is being transmitted through various sensors and devices, TNG saw the need to embrace innovation through a more forward-looking technology.

“We want to use RFID to look at different scenarios – peak pricing, peak timing, peak traffic – to help the government improve traffic flows, alternative transport modes, the availability of point-to-point last mile in public transport, parking, etc. All these information data points are very important and it can only be done if we move from a card-based, to a RFID infrastructure that is supported by a digital platform like an e-wallet.”

According to Noor Farilla Abdullah, COO of TNGSB, the technology is based on successful RFID implementations in countries such as Taiwan and the Philippines, modified to fit local requirements and circumstances.

With the new payment system, cars are fitted with a passive RFID tag which can be read by overhead scanners located at participating tolls. Toll charges will be deducted from the Touch ‘n Go e-wallet that is part of TNG’s recently released mobile app. The app can also be used to make cashless payments and purchases, with more facilities and features to be added in time.

Approximately 100,000 users have registered for the pilot programme. 16 highways in KL already have RFID access and for now, there are 5 RFID tag fitment centres, with more to come in the future. The long-term plan will be to have fully automated lanes in all the Malaysian highways, which will affect over 12 million road users in the country.