2 October 2016

Dubai's nol card to become even smarter

Source: RTA. The nol card.
Source: RTA. The nol card.
The unified nol card used for different forms of transport, launched in September 2009, has handled 3.4 billion transactions to date, said HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Transactions include commuter entries and exits from metro & tram stations, buses, taxis, and marine transit; fare payments and card top-ups. Daily use of the nol cards has grown exponentially more recently, recording 2.4 million transactions per day. A total number of 48 million nol cards and tickets have been issued.

“RTA has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Smart Dubai office endorsing the use of nol card as a means of a smart payment for micro payment processes in Dubai. It has also signed a MoU with the Dubai Municipality providing for the use of nol card in collecting the entry fee of four parks in Dubai, and the uses of nol cards are set to expand in future.

"In 2010, RTA, in collaboration with the Emirates NBD Bank, issued a combined credit card considered the first of its kind in the Middle East. The card has the dual features of a bank credit card as well as a nol card. Holders can use the card to perform payments as a credit card, smart contactless technology card, and a nol card for fares of various RTA’s public transit systems,” said Al Tayer.

The e-wallet feature of the nol card, which enables prepaid value for RTA services by electronic means, is also popular. There are 1,100 e-wallet accounts opened with RTA and amounts channelled through the e-purse have amounted to AED170 million, Al Tayer said.

“The e-wallet has a host of features such as the saving time, avoiding carrying cash amounts, secure online payment, easy checking of account details, and easy cancellation of payment. The e-wallet currently enables clients to pay licensing fees (relating to the licensing of vehicles and drivers), and efforts are underway to broaden the use of the e-wallet to cover payment for various RTA’s online individual and corporate services,” Al Tayer said.

The RTA announced in late September that it is gearing up for the launch of the final version of the Smart Fare project to the public in October 2016, having gone through the trial version September 2016. New services will be added to the Public Transport App, and the smart services on the app will be upgraded in line with RTA’s strategic goals on a Smart Dubai, and people's happiness.

The upgraded app uses near field connectivity (NFC) to support current services and to enable the launch of payment services through the app. Thanks to NFC technology, it will be possible to read and update nol cards directly through Android smartphones.

“The Smart Fare project uses NFC technology i.e. tapping nol cards on smartphones (Android devices) in which the Public Transport Smart App is uploaded. The customer would then be able to top-up (the) nol card instantly, and buy a bus & metro permit without visiting ticket counters or renewing such a permit,” said Khaled Al Awadi, Director of Automated Fare Collection, Technology Support Services Sector, RTA.

“Services will be paid for through entering details of customers' credit cards to the app in coordination with the Smart Dubai Government. The new services added to the app include credit transfers from one card to another, and enquiries about journeys made through the nol card.

“The service would contribute to eliminating any inconvenience related to the limited number of recharging machines.”