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

Ever forget your nol card? Well, if you are a Samsung user, you can tap and pay for your Dubai public transport journeys directly with your phone!

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Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced a digital upgrade to the nol card system in January 2024. While the full rollout is expected in 2025, digital nol cards are currently offered to Samsung and Huawei devices.

Even if you drive in Dubai, a nol card is handy. Not only will it let you ride the Metro, bus, and tram, but you can also use it for payments like 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 nol cards for Samsung users

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.”