Touch ‘n Go has announced that the working scope of its TNG Card/eWallet link feature, which was introduced in December last year as a pilot programme on the DUKE – and DUKE 2 – highway, has been expanded.

The pay-direct feature, which can link up to three Touch ‘n Go cards to a user’s eWallet app and offers toll fare payment using the funds from the eWallet, is now also operational on the Kemuning–Shah Alam Highway (LKSA) and the Smart Tunnel.

Once a card is linked to the eWallet, the toll charge will automatically be deducted from your eWallet whenever you use a card at a toll booth (either by tapping it on a reader or by using a SmartTAG), bypassing the balance in the physical card. The fare will only be deducted from the card if your eWallet has insufficient funds – if you enable the auto-reload feature in the eWallet, the balance on the card may never even be touched for highway use.

The implementation of the TNG Card feature means that users will no longer need to queue up at reload lanes at toll plazas. They will also save a bit of money along the way as they will no longer have to pay a 50 sen reload surcharge – top-ups for the eWallet, which are made through your phone via credit or debit card, online banking or TNG Reload PINs come with no additional fees.

According to Touch ‘n Go CEO Syahrunizam Samsudin, response to the new card link system has been very positive, and he encouraged more users to enable the function.

“The add card feature is what we believe will be the game changer. It’s not about reloading any more, which is a 20 year old concept. Linking the Touch ‘n Go card is about creating a unique identifier for users, because the card today has zero identity, seeing as it’s not registered and it’s as good as cash if someone else picks it up,” he explained.

Adoption rates for the eWallet have also swelled, jumping from a million registered users in October last year to 2.3 million by December.

The company also provided an update for its radio-frequency identification (RFID) programme, which continues expanded trials. The system, which also utilises the eWallet app for payment, is now enabled on 167 lanes across 23 highways – of these, 38 are dedicated RFID-only lanes, 36 are hybrid lanes integrated with SmartTag, and 93 are Touch ‘n Go card hybrid lanes.

Syahrunizam added that the RFID pilot programme now has around 110,000 users, and the number will continue to increase as phase expansion develops. Currently, there are 32 TNG RFID fitment centres, the bulk being located in Selangor (15) and Kuala Lumpur (10).

Full-scale deployment of the RFID system is still some time away, Syahrunizam saying that it is not quite ready yet, with some issues still needing to be resolved. While not mentioned, one of these must surely be the integration aspects of the card link feature on hybrid SmartTag lanes – as previously noted, activation of the card link feature can nullify the use of the RFID tag, as confirmed on the Segambut toll plaza gantry on the DUKE 2.

Syahrunizam said that RFID lane adoption is set to increase. “We’re pushing the government to give us more RFID lanes, or at least more hybrid lanes,” he said, adding that the push will be for SmartTag-based ones as “the experience with TNG hybrid lanes have not been so good.”

He added that TNG will soon be introducing a new loyalty programme for all highway users, with rewards including cashback benefits or gifts.