More banks entering the ETC market
Last week, it was announced in quick succession that four new banks across two separate road charging domains (Singapore and Indonesia) would begin offering cashless, connected, payments to existing commercial and individual customers. Entering into a partnership with payment provider EZ-Link, Citibank Singapore will link up to 1,000 cards to a single commercial account, topping up each card automatically. The EZ-Reload Corporate Service will also provide fleet managers with usage and tracking data for each vehicle.
Across the Java Sea in Indonesia, three new state-owned banks (Bank Negara Indonesia, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Tabungan Negara) will join existing provider, Bank Mandiri, in enabling customers to pay for toll roads via electronic means. The move is designed to reduce the reliance on cash and will serve as an “embryo” for the future expansion of non-cash transactions. The agreement breaks the monopoly previously held by Bank Mandiri’s e-money card. The four state-owned institutions are also working on a system known as “Himbara Link”, which would allow private banks to join in the future.
Singapore has long been at the forefront of road pricing innovation, and with a long-planned shift to GNSS based charging underway it is unsurprising that we are seeing developments in other areas of tolling. While the Indonesian programme is an extension to an existing product, both developments achieve the aim of simplify payments and broadening choice for the individual user. Each scheme also follows a growing trend of positioning road charging as a connected and integrated transportation service for both fleet and individual customers.
Making it easier to pay the toll is one of many processes which can contribute to a more satisfied user base, and therefore a greater acceptance of the charge. Linking payments to an existing, often trusted, provider may also assist in dampening some of the pervasive fears surrounding data collection and individual privacy, which have handicapped the introduction of new ERP schemes across the globe. In addition, automating the top-up function for certain commercial users may help to eliminate large numbers of non-payments seen on a daily basis. As outlined in the ETC Global Study, Singapore’s ERP scheme has seen up to 800 violations per day, around 90 per cent of which were due to insufficient funds on the payment card.
In our next ETC blog we will explore the latest developments affecting the Malaysian tolling market.