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Enhanced TNG Card with NFC: Should you bother upgrading to this new card?

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APRIL 17 — After years of waiting, Touch ‘n Go has finally released its new Enhanced TNG Card which allows top-ups via NFC on your smartphone. This solves one of the biggest pain points of reloading a physical TNG card and it is definitely better than the previous dumb eWallet top-up feature introduced in 2018. If you’re thinking of getting one and want to know what’s the difference versus the standard TNG card, here’s everything you need to know.

What is an Enhanced TNG Card?

To make it clear, the new card and the NFC feature are not officially launched yet but Touch ‘n Go has started selling the cards at their official outlet. In simple terms, the Enhanced TNG Card is basically the same TNG card that has been used for over 25 years but it now gets an added NFC (Near-Fields-Communication) function. At the moment, the NFC feature is only used to enable convenient TNG Card reloads via Touch ‘n Go eWallet but you need to tap the card behind your NFC-enabled smartphone.

Like any regular TNG card, this new version still has its own separate credit balance. That means you must ensure sufficient balance in the card if you plan on using it for tolls, public transport and parking that don’t support the PayDirect feature. The only benefit of its NFC feature is that you won’t need to look for a kiosk or go to a counter to reload the card. Just use your TNG eWallet app and tap the card to reload. But do note that the NFC top-up feature is not available yet and you’ll have to wait for Touch ‘n Go eWallet to update their app.

In terms of design, the Enhanced version gets a clean minimalistic look with a slight pink to blue gradient. The card costs RM10 without any preloaded credit. At the moment, the card is being sold in limited quantities and we got ours at the Touch ‘n Go Hub at Nu Sentral yesterday. According to some responses on Twitter, the new card was sold out yesterday evening and we are not sure when the cards will be restocked.

Since the card’s NFC feature isn’t usable yet, there’s no need to hurry and you can wait for Touch ‘n Go to launch the card officially. By then, you should be able to order the Enhanced TNG card directly from the eWallet just like ordering an RFID tag. From the looks of it, the new Enhanced card has a shorter life span of 7 years, instead of the usual 10 years.

How do you reload the Enhanced TNG Card?

As mentioned earlier, the new card allows top-ups via a smartphone. However, for this to work, you’ll need to wait for the updated Touch ‘n Go eWallet app which will introduce a new feature to allow card reloads. Touch ‘n Go hasn’t provided a specific launch date but it is expected to happen soon.

Based on the leaked video which we saw earlier, the eWallet app will get a new top-up feature for both iOS and Android that requires users to place the card at the back of the phone for at least 5 seconds. This will allow you to transfer credit from your eWallet to the new Enhanced TNG card.

If you plan on using the new card today, you would still need to top it up via a TNG Kiosks or over-the-counter at selected participating stores and retail outlets. You can already link the card to the Touch ‘n Go eWallet using the serial number, and this allows you to see the balance, expiry date and enable PayDirect.

Enhanced TNG Card limitations and capabilities

There has been a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about what the new Enhanced TNG Card can do. Firstly, it still works like a normal TNG Card and this means you can use it to make payments at any terminals that accept Touch ‘n Go including public transport. This also means you can also use it with your SmartTAG for highway toll payments.

The Enhanced TNG Card isn’t a Visa PayWave or Mastercard Paypass, so you can’t use it to pay at normal credit or debit card terminals. If you’re looking for a TNG eWallet-linked card that can be used at all card terminals, you’ll have to wait for TNG’s Visa prepaid card that’s expected to launch this year.

It is also worth highlighting that the NFC top-up feature is not automatic like the credit-card-linked Zing card. You would still need to perform the reload manually by tapping the card on your phone with Touch ‘n Go eWallet. For an easier explanation, your phone is now your personal TNG Top-up kiosk, allowing you to reload anywhere at any time with zero charges.

By adding the Enhanced TNG card to your TNG eWallet app, you do get to enjoy PayDirect functionality where it is supported. For those who didn’t know, PayDirect is a feature that allows you to pay using your eWallet balance instead of deducting your physical card’s balance. It is supported on most toll highways in the Klang Valley except for PLUS and other highways. There are some carparks that support PayDirect as well which include Nu Sentral itself.

Since not all TNG terminals, car parks, and highways support PayDirect, you must ensure that you have sufficient balance at all times.

Should you bother spending RM10 for the Enhanced TNG Card?

In case you didn’t know, Malaysia aims to implement barrier-free Multi-Lane-Free-Flow highway tolling via RFID by 2025. As part of the transition and to encourage the use of RFID, the government has announced plans to phase out the use of TNG and SmartTAG by the end of 2023. If you’re a highway user, it is clear that RFID is the future and it provides greater convenience with actual auto-reload via the eWallet. Gradually, we should see TNG lanes being replaced with RFID as the adoption increases.

If you’ve been using PayDirect on your existing TNG card to pay for your tolls, then there’s very little benefit to switching to the new card. PayDirect already offers a seamless eWallet payment deduction but only if the highways support it.

The only reason why you should get it is purely for the convenience of topping up via your smartphone. This would benefit users that top up regularly as finding a kiosk can be a hassle. Personally, I’ve been topping up my physical TNG card at TNG reload kiosks once every 2 to 3 months, and the card balance is mostly used for parking or occasional use of public transport. For highway payments, RFID is still the most convenient way to pay and there’s also PayDirect as a backup if I need to use the TNG lane. To be safe, I would usually keep a minimum card balance of RM20 at all times. — SoyaCincau

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