A Singaporean’s Guide to the Malaysia Touch ‘N Go Card and System

Touch N Go(Photo Credit: Compare Hero)

Update: 12 November 2018, 3pm

A reader has reached out, providing us with new, updated information about the new RFID system and the Touch ‘N Go mobile application. Motorist member Steven Tan tells us he crosses the border every day, and that he has been chosen to test the new RFID system.

He says that he only needs to top up the e-wallet on his Touch ‘N Go mobile application and the road charge and toll fee will be deducted automatically from there. He also clarifies that the Touch ‘N Go cards cannot be topped up via the mobile application, and that the top-up function in the application is meant purely for the new RFID system.

However, users can check the balance on their Touch ‘N Go cards via the application, but it can take up to a day for the application to update the card's balance after a payment.

As of 10 November, Steven Tan tells us that the new RFID is currently under operation only at the Sultan Iskandar building, which is accessible via the Woodlands Causeway. For entry via Tuas checkpoint, drivers would still need to use their Touch ‘N Go card to pay for the road charge at the Malaysian checkpoint.

Driving to Malaysia soon? One essential item you will need for the drive up north, apart from your passport, is a Touch ‘N Go card.

Similar to the cash cards we use in our car’s In-Vehicle Units (IU), a Touch ‘N Go card is used in Malaysia mainly to pay fees at tolls along the North-South Highway. Instead of queuing in the cash lanes, a simple tap on the terminal booth will let you continue on your journey in Malaysia.

At the two checkpoints, Touch ‘N Go cards are used to pay fees on Malaysia’s half of the immigration checkpoints when you cross them by car. For years, you will have to use a Touch N’ Go card to pay a fee when you enter and leave Malaysia via the two checkpoints.

Touch N Go(Photo Credit: Channel NewsAsia)

Back in August this year, reports emerged that people driving into Johor Bahru via the Causeway at Woodlands will be no longer be allowed to top up their Touch ‘N Go cards. The move by Malaysia is meant to ease congestion of vehicles entering Malaysia at the Sultan Iskandar building.

The move wasn’t seen as a big deal as reports two months prior said that toll charges at the Johor Checkpoint would only be paid when the vehicles are leaving Malaysia. This move was announced with the same intentions as the restriction on top-up services at the causeway, to ease congestion for vehicles coming into Malaysia.

However, there wasn’t a timeframe given for the latter, with the Malaysian authorities saying that it will be implemented soon. However, when we entered Malaysia via the Woodlands Causeway on Sunday morning (28 Oct), we were still required to pay toll fees when we entered at the Johor Checkpoint.

Therefore, this would mean Singaporeans would still need to have a Touch ‘N Go card when entering Malaysia via car. For those lacking the card or possessing one that is invalid, expired or ‘empty’, that could mean an even longer wait at the checkpoint to get a new card.

Screenshot Of Touch N Go card Carousell(Screenshot: Carousell)

Currently, there are no official channels to buy or top up Touch ‘N Go cards in Singapore. However, a check on Carousell shows Touch ‘N Go cards with varying values being sold. The most popular listing displays ready-stock Touch ‘N Go cards with a 10-year validity and a stored value of RM50 (S$16.52) being sold for S$40.

In the case above, the stored value of RM50 would easily get you past immigration.However, it would be advisable to top up your Touch ‘N Go card before continuing on your journey as RM50 can only get you so far in Malaysia’s North-South Highway. The seller’s markup of almost S$24 on the card just goes to show how much Singaporeans are willing to pay for the card.

In terms of topping up, the Touch ‘N Go’s website has a list of places in Malaysia that you can go to top up your Touch ‘N Go card. The list extends from offices next to toll checkpoints and petrol stations on the North-South Highway, to stores like Watsons and Giant.

Touch N Go App(Photo Credit: Zing Gadget)

Recently, the Touch ‘N Go company released a mobile application for its payment service. On the application, users can, among other things, check the balance on their Touch ‘N Go cards.

RFID Tag(Photo Credit: Car List)

For Touch ‘N Go e-payments, a QR code would be generated, but it is unclear whether this payment method would be accepted at toll points and checkpoints. However, a report from a few months ago said Touch ‘N Go would begin testing a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system in September.

This RFID system uses a sticker with a radio chip embedded in it. Similar to Singapore’s Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system, an overhead scanner would automatically read the sticker on the car and deduct the fee straight from the digital wallet in the mobile app. The full rollout of the system is expected next year, in January.

In the meantime, drivers can still use their Touch ‘N Go cards to make payments at tolls. However, it is unclear if and when the RFID system will replace the act of tapping a Touch ‘N Go card on the terminal booth.

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