Singapore is trialling wrist bands to make contactless payments for public trains and buses, the Land Transport Authority recently announced.

200 people are participating in the trial, which started on 31 August 2015 and ends on 29 February 2016. During this time they will wear wrist bands with ‘Near Field Communication’ technology, which they can hold up to a reader to pay for their bus and train rides.

“Insights provided by the trial will help LTA assess the performance of fare transactions using the smart band and gather feedback in assessing the potential use of wearable technology in public transit,” said Chew Men Leong, LTA Chief Executive.

The device can be connected with a digital wallet mobile app to check its stored value and transactions. In the future, the app may also be used to top up the stored value in the band, LTA said.

Apart from trains and buses, the wristband can be used for payments at libraries and retail outlets. It can also track daily activities and sleep quality.

Trial of smart bands in Singapore

In a separate study, LTA will test a payments system where commuters will no longer need to scan their transport fare cards at entry and exist points. Instead, they will be automatically detected, and payments will be charged in the back-end, similar to a post-paid mobile subscription.

“The technology will be able to detect and automatically register commuters in a bus or train so long as the commuter has the fare card somewhere on his person,” said Pang Kin Keong, Transport Permanent Secretary, at a Future Mobility symposium in July. “LTA will be studying its feasibility and applicability to our transport system,” he added.