As of now, the digital nol card is available for Samsung and Huawei devices. Dubai's Roads and Transportation (RTA) is currently coordinating with Apple to introduce the service for iPhone users. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Earlier this week, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced plans for a digital upgrade to the nol card system. While the new digital system is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2025, and has a host of new features, some UAE residents are already able to use their phones instead of a physical nol card. This is because the digital nol card service is available some Samsung and Huawei devices.

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Nol cards are essential in case you are a public transport user in Dubai, but even if you drive your own car, nol cards are still helpful in making other payments around Dubai, including paying for parking tickets.

Here is a breakdown of what you can expect from the digital upgrade of the nol card system, and how you can move your nol card to your phone, if you have a Samsung or Huawei device.

Digital upgrade for nol cards expected

On Sunday, January 28, RTA announced that it has plans to upgrade the existing nol card-based ticketing system, to transform it into one that is account-based. This means that cards that have been issued to you can all be linked to your digital nol card, providing a centralised transport fare wallet and integrated packages for a range of services, like the issuance of family and group tickets.


Digital nol cards for Samsung users

The official social media accounts of the RTA responded to customers last week on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) stating that Samsung users can now add the digital nol card to their phone’s wallet.

Samsung and RTA had signed an agreement at GITEX last year for the service to be made available on Samsung phones.


Three important details about the new digital nol cards for Samsung phones:

In case you are a Samsung user, there are three important aspects to remember when you are about to digitise your nol card.

1. The option for a digital nol card is only available for some Samsung phone models.
2. Once your nol card is digitised, the physical card will become invalid.
3. You can only digitise a silver or gold nol card.

Which Samsung phones support virtual nol card?
You can turn your nol card into a digital nol card if you have any of the following models of Samsung phones:
• SM-A715F(A71)
• SM-A805F(A80)
• SM-F900F(Fold)
• SM-N770F(Note 10 Lite), SM- N970F(Note 10), SM-N975F(Note 10+), SM-N976Q(Note 10+5G)
• SM-G770F(S10), SM- G970F(S10e), SM-G973F(S10)
• G986B(S20+5G), SM- G780G (S20 FE 4G), SM- G980F(S20), SM-G985F(S20+), SM-G988B(S20 Ultra 5G)
• SM-G990E(S21 FE 5G), SM- G991B(S21), SM-G996B(S21+5G) , SM-G998B(S21 Ultra 5G)
• SM-S901E(S225G), SM- S906E(S22+5G), SM-S908E(S22 Ultra 5G)
• SM-S711B(S23 FE), SM- S911B(S23), SM-S916B(S23+), SM-S918B(S23 Ultra)
• SM-F700F(Z Flip), SM-F711B(Z Flip 3), SM-F721B(Z Flip 4), SM- F731B(Z Flip 5)
• SM-F926B(Z Fold 3) 13), SM- F936B(Z Fold 14), SM-F946B(Z Fold 5)

How to add digital nol card for Samsung users

Before you start the process, make sure you have the updated version of the ‘nol pay’ app on your phone. Then, follow the steps below:

1. Open the nol pay app and tap on ‘Get my nol card’.

2. Tap on ‘Digitise my physical nol card’.

3. You will see a notification, informing you that you can only digitise a nol card if it is a silver or gold card. Tap on ‘Next’.

4. Place your nol card on the back of your smartphone. The balance and travel passes on the physical nol card will be transferred to the digital nol card using Near Field Communication (NFC). Do not move your phone unless the card has been read successfully by the app.

5. Once the app has read the card, you will be notified that you can remove the physical card from behind the phone. You will also be informed that the physical card is not usable now and to click on ‘continue’ to issue the digital nol card to your mobile.

6. It may take a few minutes for the digital nol card to be issued to your phone. Once it is complete, you will be notified by the nol pay app that the digital nol card has been successfully downloaded to your mobile.

When you do go to a Metro or bus station, all you need to do is open the ‘nol pay’ app and tap your phone on the reader on the entry gates.


How to save virtual nol card for Huawei phones

Digital nol cards have been available for Huawei phones since 2020. The virtual nol card is available through nol Pay, only on compatible Huawei phones and through the wallet of Huawei watch 3 and 3 Pro. Once you digitise your nol card, it is important to remember that your physical nol card will no longer be usable.

Which Huawei phones support virtual nol card?
BOX: Which Huawei phones support virtual nol card?
• Mate20, Mate20 Pro, Mate20 X, Mate20 X 5G
• Mate30, Mate30 5G, Mate30 Pro, Mate30 Pro 5G, Mate30 RS Porsche
• Mate40, Mate 40 Pro, Mate40 Pro+
• Mate50 Pro
• Mate X, Mate X3, Mate Xs
• Nova 10, Nova 10 Pro
• Nova 11, Nova 11 Pro
• Nova 75G
• Nova 9
• P30, P30 Pro
• P40, P40 Pro, P40 Pro+
• P50, P50 Pro
• P50 Pocket
• P60 Pro

According to Huawei these are the steps for digitising an existing physical nol card:

1. Open the Huawei Wallet and touch the + button next to transportation cards.
2. Select the transportation card you want to add – nol silver and nol gold.
3. Tap on ‘digitise an existing physical card’ and follow the onscreen instructions to sync the data from the physical card.
4. Tap on ‘Continue’ and wait for a few minutes for the card to be digitised, and it will be saved to your mobile wallet.


Can I use a digital nol card if I have an iPhone?

In a response to an X user’s query on January 29, the official account of RTA responded: “Thanks for contacting us. Kindly note that the digital nol card is currently available on Huawei and Samsung devices through the nol Pay app, noting that we are currently coordinating with Apple to activate the service on their devices. Please follow our social media platforms for further updates.”