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QR Transit: Are QR-codes better than the Touch ‘n Go card?

Touch n Go QR Transit Malaysia

Just recently Touch ‘n Go had introduced QR Transit. It’s a new feature which allows you to pay for your LRT rides with just your smartphone. If you’ve been following our site, you would probably know that we’re not impressed with the Touch ‘n Go mobile app. Can QR Transit turn things around? Read on to find out.

As the name suggests, QR Transit uses QR codes which you can flash at the gates as you enter and exit the LRT station. It’s currently running as a trial until 31 July 2018 and it covers 7 LRT stations on the Kelana Jaya line. This includes Kelana Jaya, Universiti, Kerinchi, KL Sentral, Dang Wangi, KLCC and Ampang Park.

If you’ve successfully signed up for the QR Transit trial, you should see a new “Transit” icon on the Touch ‘n Go app. Unlike typical merchant payments, you are only required to enter the PIN once for activation. Once that’s done, the app will display the QR Code instantly the next time you need it. Just unlock your phone, launch the app and tap on the Transit icon.

The QR Transit “reader” is located at the front of the gate which you can spot by its thick yellow housing. From the stations we’ve been, there’s only one supported gate per location that’s equipped with the QR code reader.

Surprisingly, QR Transit works really well and from our multiple tries, it’s just as quick as using a physical Touch ‘n Go card. You just need to hold your phone about 10-15 cm away and the gate opens instantly. Of course, you’ll need to get the app ready before you walk up to the gate but the overall experience was pretty seamless.

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Since this is a mobile app, you’ll need to have a steady connection and sufficient battery for the entire trip. When we intentionally forced our smartphone connection to EDGE (2G), it took a few seconds for the QR code to load and do note that the code refreshes every 30 seconds. If you’re on 3G and above, you should have nothing to worry about.

In fact, if we compare this to KLIA Express’ barcode-based e-tickets, QR Transit is much more reliable and we didn’t face any issues at the gate. It’s also significantly faster than using Samsung Pay at KLIA Express. While NFC is supposed to be more efficient, there’s always a slight delay as the VISA Paywave terminal takes a moment to obtain transaction approval when you exit the station.

As a mode of payment, QR Transit does deliver when it comes to convenience. Since it’s a mobile wallet, you can reload using your credit or debit card as well as online banking. There’s no surcharge when you top up and you can do it at any time without the need to queue up at a physical kiosk. We hope that Touch ‘n Go would eventually roll this feature to all MRT and LRT stations.

As a mobile wallet, Touch ‘n Go will have to face stiff competition from the likes of FavePay, Boost and GrabPay. There are so wallet players in Malaysia and consumers would rather stick to a provider that has the most merchant touch points.

If you’re interested to give QR Transit a try, you can sign up for the trial program at the Touch ‘n Go booth at KL Sentral. It will take a few days to approve if there are no issues with your application. Before you register, you’ll need to download the Touch ‘n Go app that’s available on both iOS and Android.

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For those who have tried, do you prefer QR Transit over the physical card? Let us know in the comments below.

Alexander Wong