Suspend PayDirect system at toll gates, say consumer groups

PETALING JAYA: A consumer group has called for the suspension of the PayDirect system of cashless toll payments at highways, while another group called for a guarantee of safety of customers’ accounts, and a payback policy.

The warnings came from the Malaysia Consumer Movement and the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor. They said there were bugs in the service and it was premature to introduce it.

Touch ‘N Go has introduced an electronic wallet service which subscribers can use to make payments, transfer funds, reload their TNG cards, and pay highway tolls directly through the PayDirect system on open-toll highways like the Duke-Ulu Kelang, Damansara-Puchong and Shah Alam expressways.

(It cannot be used on the PLUS Highway, Elite Highway, New Klang Valley Expressway and Lekas Highway, according to the app.)

MCM president Darshan Singh Dhillon said it was pointless to launch the PayDirect service when there were still highways yet to be included, adding that the move appeared to be a gimmick to get people on board.

“Touch ‘n Go must do proper research before introducing such a service,” he told FMT. “Who has the time to check which highways are participating? Most of the time, I don’t even know which highway I’m on.”

TNG should suspend the service until all highways were included. “I’ve witnessed many getting stuck at toll gates of late and I can only assume it’s due to this,” he added.

Darshan said he had been using the e-wallet service for the past three weeks and found that users could not check the balance on their cards and that toll gate barriers on non-participating highways would not lift if the users’ Touch ‘N Go cards ran out of money.

This had caused traffic jams, he added.

He noted, moreover, that the service would not automatically reload a TNG card owned by someone who hadn’t linked it to his credit card. Even with a linked credit card, the user must reload his e-wallet as well and there was no information how much he would be charged for this.

However, a Touch ‘N Go spokesman said TNG cards could not be reloaded automatically because the card is a smartcard containing a chip, and transactions could only take place if the card is in contact with a card reader.

Darshan also said users could not undo a link between the wallet and a credit card. Touch ‘N Go said: “Users can remove their bank cards through the eWallet. Just swipe left and click delete to remove the card.”

Jacob George, president of the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor, warned of a risk of such an electronic payment service being hacked, as had happened to the Google Wallet in 2012 and the Starbucks app in 2015.

“Are Malaysian consumers ready and aware of such risks and have those peddling the technology had enough consultations with stakeholders to initiate the roll out in Malaysia?” he asked.

He said Cassa was asking for a guarantee of safety, security and a payback policy from the promoters of the PayDirect service if consumers’ accounts were compromised. “We are also asking for more information and discussions on consumers concerns before any national plan like this rolls out,” he added.

Touch ‘N Go said the company was always working towards continuously improving their products and systems together with their partners. “Security is a priority for us,” he added. “Rest assured that we have taken additional care to safeguard our users,” he said.