Last Friday, Touch ‘n Go officially launched its advanced Touch’ n Go card in Malaysia, offering its TnG eWallet app for sale to select retailers. It was clear that the new product would be popular from the start – since it had been silently available at TNG’s own outlets the previous week, it was immediately scalped at almost double the price.
So it turned out – the card sold out in the app within three hours of the announcement. However it quickly returned to sales and we were able to score our own in a relatively short order. Given that TnG cards are primarily used for toll payments, we thought it would be a good idea to keep up with the new technology and see how easy (or otherwise) it is to use.
What’s different about it, and how much does it cost?
Enhanced card headlining features built-in near-field communication (NFC) technology, which enables the smartphone to reload and completely reduces the physical counter (and any related reload charges, since NFC reload is free). No, you still can’t top-up the card remotely and the card balance is still different from your eWallet, just so you know.
All the new card allows you to do is reload the card using eWallet, just hold it on the back of your phone. To do this, you’ll need an Android smartphone or an iPhone equipped with an NFC chip, which is common nowadays (including the iPhone 7 and newer). Touch ‘n Go also says that the new card has better encryption, which enhances the security of your balance.
Advanced card prices are the same as RM10’s predecessor (some LRT and MRT stations are selling older cards at RM15, including RM10 preloading), with RW5 shipping fees being charged by ordering through the eWallet app. It’s been sold on the app to date, and the cards are still being scalped online – They On an e-commerce platform (i.e. Lazada or Shoppe) reporting high prices like RM90, which is ridiculous to say the least. Just wait for the new stock to arrive, okay?
You can tell the improved card in addition to the older versions by the delightful minimalist blue-and-pink gradient on the front and back, although new designs will be offered in the future as part of the marketing tie-ins, as was the case with previous cards.
There is also a wave icon indicating NFC functionality, along with the TnG and eWallet logos, all of which are featured in Chrome. On the opposite side is a QR code for eWallet app, serial number and expiration date (seven years validity for upgrade). There are no terms here, just a simple “terms apply.”
How does the reload function work?
To use the Enhanced Card as intended, you must first update the eWallet app. Once you’ve done that, you’ll notice a new TNG card shortcut on the main page – first, you’ll need to tap the toll icon to get to it. When you first enter the menu, you’ll get an introduction to the new card and a prompt to add your card to the app using NFC (you can still do this in the old fashioned way by inputting the serial number).
You will then be asked to prepare your advanced card, then your phone will ask you to hold the card back for five seconds. Once the card is read, the serial number is automatically inserted into the dialog box; Before adding the card to your catalog, you need to input the six-digit PIN number registered in the e-wallet. With the latest app, you can now link up to five TnG cards (including advanced cards), previously limited to three.
Reloading the card is relatively straightforward. In the TnG Card menu, all you have to do is tap the Reload button on the specified card, then you will be asked to hold the card on the back of your phone again to verify it. Select the desired value and you will be asked to tap on your card again; To reload for the first time (there is no preload value, however), you will also need to provide your PIN number. That’s it.
A few things to mention – first, the location of your phone’s NFC chip varies depending on the model, so you can’t just place the card on the back and expect it to be detected. On an iPhone (such as the 12 Pro shown here), you need to tap the card at the top end next to the camera bump.
The process is also a bit tricky – the phone has reported an error more than once while reading the card, which means you have to restart the process to reload. Looks like you can’t tap the card in a hurry; Keep it away from the phone before you request it and errors will be minimized. Once you get the hang of it, you can air through the reload in no time.
Anything else to remember?
As mentioned earlier, the value of advanced cards differs from eWallet – you cannot simply pay for things through the card with your eWallet balance (unless you are using the PayDirect function). Reload is automatically deducted from your eWallet; There is no option to top up directly using a credit or debit card. If you have insufficient eWallet balance, you will be prompted to reload the eWallet first.
Unlike older cards, the extended version has no latent time, which means you can use the card as little (or as often) as you want in the next seven years. Previously, you had to use the card at least once a year to keep it active, although this only applies to cards not connected to the eWallet app.
Want to transfer a balance from your old card? You will need to request a refund through Touch ‘n Go’s eRefund service, which will credit the remaining value to your bank account or your eWallet (a RM5 fee is required to withdraw from an inactive card). Once you have the money in your eWallet, you can use it to reload the extended card as usual. Note that the old card process will be disabled.
Outside of the NFC reload, the extended card works the same as other TnG cards and can be used for toll, parking, bus and train fares, and some retail purchases. PayDirect allows you to use your eWallet balance to make payments, although it is only supported in certain toll plazas and a handful of mall parking lots.
Ironically, the North-South Highway still does not support PayDirect, although RFID lanes have now been added to its toll plazas. At least the extended card means you don’t have to park your car and walk to the reload counter, which will help ease traffic congestion. As before, using your card in a PayDirect-supported toll or parking lot is first deducted from your eWallet, if you do not have sufficient balance.
So you have it, the new advanced Touch ‘n Go card that lets you say goodbye to the physical reload counter. What do you think of the new NFC functionality and do you think it will make a difference in the way you use your card? Sounds off comments after the jump.