A guide to Taiwanese VISA Debit Cards


#161

[quote=“dan2006”][quote=“ThorsMallet”]Tried Taishin bank again today, this time at the Nanjing East Rd branch, where I figured they’d be more likely to have someone who spoke English.

Anyways, I spoke to a woman in English who and asked her if they offered foreigners Visa debit cards that would work both online and at ATMs abroad. She said that they did and that the only limitation was that the international functioning would be disabled once my ARC expires, fine, I thought. So after sitting there for about 45 minutes while they typed away on the computer they give me an ATM card with NO Visa logo and no numbers at all! I was confused so I asked the same woman I spoke to earlier why it wasn’t a Visa card and she said, “We don’t offer Visas to foreigners” I argued with her, but she denied ever saying that they did… I was furious…

Back to the drawing board…

I should mention, the card did have a PLUS logo on the back and the woman said that it could be used to draw money at foreign ATMs, however they only gave me a 6-digit pin so I’m a bit skeptical.[/quote]

I hope you closed your account. I would absolutely refuse to do business with a company that would say one thing, and then lie about it when confronted.

I have had such poor success with Taiwan banks as they are the epitome of uselessness. Hopefully they will all sink underwater at some point.[/quote]

Yea, I closed it the next day. Actually when I was trying to open my account with China Trust, they saw on their computer network that I had opened an account with Taishin the day before. They told me that I would have to close my Taishin account before opening a China Trust one because of some regulation against opening multiple accounts in a short period of time. Needless to say, the Taishin people were pretty confused as to why I was closing an account I’d had for only 1 day.


#162

[quote=“ThorsMallet”][quote=“dan2006”][quote=“ThorsMallet”]Tried Taishin bank again today, this time at the Nanjing East Rd branch, where I figured they’d be more likely to have someone who spoke English.

Anyways, I spoke to a woman in English who and asked her if they offered foreigners Visa debit cards that would work both online and at ATMs abroad. She said that they did and that the only limitation was that the international functioning would be disabled once my ARC expires, fine, I thought. So after sitting there for about 45 minutes while they typed away on the computer they give me an ATM card with NO Visa logo and no numbers at all! I was confused so I asked the same woman I spoke to earlier why it wasn’t a Visa card and she said, “We don’t offer Visas to foreigners” I argued with her, but she denied ever saying that they did… I was furious…

Back to the drawing board…

I should mention, the card did have a PLUS logo on the back and the woman said that it could be used to draw money at foreign ATMs, however they only gave me a 6-digit pin so I’m a bit skeptical.[/quote]

I hope you closed your account. I would absolutely refuse to do business with a company that would say one thing, and then lie about it when confronted.

I have had such poor success with Taiwan banks as they are the epitome of uselessness. Hopefully they will all sink underwater at some point.[/quote]

Yea, I closed it the next day. Actually when I was trying to open my account with China Trust, they saw on their computer network that I had opened an account with Taishin the day before. They told me that I would have to close my Taishin account before opening a China Trust one because of some regulation against opening multiple accounts in a short period of time. Needless to say, the Taishin people were pretty confused as to why I was closing an account I’d had for only 1 day.[/quote]

So I guess the banks in Taiwan must pull a credit check to open an account… that could explain how Chinatrust knew you had another account.

Very interesting that they would ask you to close the account of the other bank :slight_smile:


#163

I opened an account at Hua Nan bank a few days ago without an ARC. Had my Visa debit card handed to me before I left and immediately went to ATM machine and changed PIN and checked my balance.

I think the trick was having a local friend who uses the bank at that location accompany me and do a lot of the talking to ensure them I am as reliable. My friend was not asked to give any ID or sign anything and was only recognized visually.


#164

My company insists that I open an account with First Commercial Bank so I went there today.

The girl behind the counter asked if I wanted an ATM card and I told her that I would like a VISA Debit card. She said, I don’t think we give that to foreigners and gave me a nervous giggle. I asked about a VISA card just for giggles and I got the giggle again and she said it’s impossible. She then walked over the 90 year old branch manager who had a laugh over the fact that a foreigner wanted a VISA and/or VISA debit card, then took off.

In the end I declined the ATM card and will just walk in once a month when I get paid and pull the entire balance out, then walk across the street to Citibank to deposit the funds there.

Summary: Don’t go to First Bank for a VISA debit card.
Land Bank also won’t give a foreigner a VISA debit card either


#165

So not being deterred and having some free time today, I went to another branch of the same bank (first bank), gave them my bankbook and asked for a VISA debit card. The woman looked me over, said no problem, and filled out the forms. She assured me it will work overseas and online.

I paid $100 nt for the card, and she told to come back on Friday to pick the card up. Here’s hoping. :discodance:

I’m starting to think a lot of it has to do with how you relate to the person you ask and how willing they are to think instead of blindly follow rules. It seems if they like you, you can get what you want. In my case we spent about 20 minutes talking about my plans in Taiwan and other things before she got down to filling in the forms.


#166

Its is about person to person on taiwan. Always has been. Rules and regulations are important but many branches have a lot of leeway. And it wont be checked higher up even.

Unless shit hits the fan. So if you give her/him a reason to trust you, things can go your way.


#167

Of course. After all, when it comes to the question of lending/borrowing money, trust is an essential ingredient. :wink:

I am not saying that there must be anything wrong with the people who get repeatedly rejected (it has even happened to some good people whom i know personally), and in some cases it is likely just “bad luck” in a lottery kind of way, but in some cases there is likely a mismatch in the communication that stands in the way of building the required trust (this mismatch can be related to anything - appearance, manners, gender, age, language used, background information, etc., etc.). Using local connections is, on the other hand, one possible way to build the required communication bridges… just saying…


#168

[quote=“tommy525”]Its is about person to person on Taiwan. Always has been. Rules and regulations are important but many branches have a lot of leeway. And it wont be checked higher up even.

Unless shit hits the fan. So if you give her/him a reason to trust you, things can go your way.[/quote]

:loco:

I don’t imagine getting a loan here as a foreigner…


#169

[quote=“Bobarctor”][quote=“tommy525”]Its is about person to person on Taiwan. Always has been. Rules and regulations are important but many branches have a lot of leeway. And it wont be checked higher up even.

Unless shit hits the fan. So if you give her/him a reason to trust you, things can go your way.[/quote]

:loco:

I don’t imagine getting a loan here as a foreigner…[/quote]

Good luck with that. I’m in the process of fighting with a few banks re: a credit card to start creating a credit history, and it is like pulling teeth.

We are simply untrustworthy to the banks, full stop. I asked about a credit card at one bank I deal with and the guy laughed and said, “that’s hard”. I asked about a mortgage, and he laughed even louder and said, “thats even harder” (read impossible when you read past the Ke Qi Hua - polite speech)

A few years ago, there was a thread where quite a few people were supposed to meet up to walk into a bank or phone company, I forgot which, and stage a small protest where en mass everyone complained at the same time but as I recall no one could agree on a time to meet and it fizzled out.


#170

[quote=“Bobarctor”][quote=“tommy525”]Its is about person to person on Taiwan. Always has been. Rules and regulations are important but many branches have a lot of leeway. And it wont be checked higher up even.

Unless shit hits the fan. So if you give her/him a reason to trust you, things can go your way.[/quote]

:loco:

I don’t imagine getting a loan here as a foreigner…[/quote]

You can get a loan but where people become unstuck is re the requirement for a guarantor or security.


#171

[quote=“headhonchoII”][quote=“Bobarctor”][quote=“tommy525”]Its is about person to person on Taiwan. Always has been. Rules and regulations are important but many branches have a lot of leeway. And it wont be checked higher up even.

Unless shit hits the fan. So if you give her/him a reason to trust you, things can go your way.[/quote]

:loco:

I don’t imagine getting a loan here as a foreigner…[/quote]

You can get a loan but where people become unstuck is re the requirement for a guarantor or security.[/quote]

You got me nailed down to a tee :smiley:
I hate hearing the word guarantor. It essentially means that we don’t trust you , but we want your money anyway so long as this local sucker here signs for you that you wont default.

Interesting fact I learned today… The Mandarin word for Guarantor means (when you break apart the two characters) - stupid person. A student told me this today and the class agreed and was laughing. He said that it is very rude to ask a friend to guarantee something for you, and you will lose a friend.

I asked who would a local ask to guarantee something and he said you would look to your family first. I said what would a single foreigner do and he just gave me a blank stare.

As much as I find the whole local guarantor thing humiliating, I would actually do it if I had the guts to actually ask someone to help me. The thought of begging someone to guarantee me horrifies me.


#172

It’s just the way their credit system works here, the old fashioned way. I think that security could possibly be used instead of a guarantor, but it would have to be substantial fixed assets in Taiwan, like a house or land.

Perhaps you have heard of the punishments the Emperors would dish out to traitors?
They would not only kill you after some gruesome torture, but they would kill every single member of your family, up and down the generations … now that was a way to guarantee loyalty Chinese style!


#173

[quote=“headhonchoII”]It’s just the way their credit system works here, the old fashioned way. I think that security could possibly be used instead of a guarantor, but it would have to be substantial fixed assets in Taiwan, like a house or land.

Perhaps you have heard of the punishments the Emperors would dish out to traitors?
They would not only kill you after some gruesome torture, but they would kill every single member of your family, up and down the generations … now that was a way to guarantee loyalty Chinese style![/quote]

My issue is that it would be ok if it was applied fairly. But of course if you are some 20 year old girl that isnt working, the bank is pleased to push an application your way. But not you bignose. :slight_smile: You might run off with the money.

I heard that in the past, the banks would just get some gangsters to pay you a visit if you owed money (or the family), which usually got them to pay up.


#174

Hi Yuli and everyone who has contributed to this thread.

I’m the new mod of the Money forum and have noticed that the last several posts in this thread have gone a little off topic as they are referring to problems of getting credit in Taiwan.

This thread is about Visa debit cards, not credit cards. Debit cards only allow you to access money already in your account for EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale).

I’ll probably split or merge some of these posts in the next few days. :bow:


#175

Not the first time that people mix up the two topics :wink: Anyway i haven’t been around much lately to keep an eye on this thread, so am glad you do now. :bow:


#176

Just wanted to add my two cents on the issue, and give a brief modernization of the thread. Been reading Forumosa for years, never posted, until now.

ChangHwa Bank (Zhongshan Rd. Sec. 1, Banqiao) - nope. Don’t even offer the debit cards (as of February 2012)

Chinatrust - (went to the Zhongshan Rd. Sec 2 branch in Banqiao) no problem getting a Visa Debit Card for Online use as well as domestic use in shops, ATMs, etc. I have yet to use it abroad. I did however, have to return to the bank to get some restrictions lifted after first attempting to use it on the internet, but afterwards, no problem aside from having to confirm my identity online.

Taishin Bank (Zhulin Rd. in Yonghe) - would not give me anything other than the standard “Middle Ages of banking” IC card that has absolutely no use whatsoever except to withdraw money from an ATM.

First Bank (第一銀行) (on the corner of Fuhe Rd. and Zhongzhen Rd. in Yonghe) - absolutely no problem at all getting a card. After discussing it with the lady at the bank, I made it perfectly clear I need it for online and international use. Not even a flinch, as she said that’s standard unless i wished to restrict it. Also, the woman I dealt with let me speak Chinese for 15 or so minutes before I ran into problems, then she started responding with perfect English, pronunciation and all… something to keep in mind for those of you who really need an English speaker. Highly recommend this place.

Based on others’ experience, it would appear that ignorance or lack thereof does, in fact, vary by branch, even with the previous posters successfully getting the Debit card. Good luck to others.


#177

To Yangguizi, thank you for updating the information.

You are right about branches having no idea about the policies. One of the locations of First Bank in Kaohsiung refused to issue me a visa debit card so I just walked into the other a few blocks away and no problem. It looks as if your First Bank also had no problems issuing one.

Taixin where I live will also issue a Visa Debit card to foreigners so maybe you can just try another branch if you want a card from them.

Usually the bank just says “we cant do it because you are a foreigner” but then they refuse to call head office for clarification. I think in most cases it is laziness and they are hoping the mafan of dealing with a foreigner will go away if they say no. Perseverance my friends.

Just to add, Sinopac and Esun bank also do not have Visa Debit cards, for foreigners or locals.


#178

I’ll add my experience:

I opened an account at HSBC (Taoyuan) in June with NT30,000. I have a regular yearly-renewable work ARC. I asked if I could get a debit card, and they issued me one with the Visa logo, no problem. I’ve used it at stores here in Taiwan, and I just used it today to purchase stuff online from Toys R Us and Amazon, no problem.

I’m curious to see if it will work in stores in the US. I’ll try it out next April when I’m there.

By the way, so far I haven’t received a monthly service charge, and my balance has always been well below the NT500,000 mentioned elsewhere in this thread. I suppose this could be an error; if so, I don’t mind :slight_smile:


#179

Thanks! :slight_smile: I’ll check whether the original list needs another update…

That’s why the precedence listed at the top of this thread is useful: Taishin, for example (to name an obvious example), is known for having issued fully functioning VISA debit cards to some foreign customers, which means not getting one in a certain branch is a glitch that one can work around. :wink:


#180

wow what a interesting topic here in the forum, i enjoy reading all of this you guys wrote.

check out this web site
relbanks.com/rankings/top-banks-in-asia
there u can find that the best asia bank ranked is

47 Taiwan Cooperative Bank Taiwan 76.39 3.18

i do some business with them and after going into a new branch in kaohsiung i was told anyone can open a account with no problems, i even asked for about what if other people have no ARC and they will also open an account for you as well. U can then transfer money from USA or EU via a wire transfer what they call SWIFT for only 400nt and it should take about 4 days for ur money to come. On average usa and eu banks charge about 15usd to send money this way. The min balance to open the account is 1,000nt but right after u open it u can use ur new atm card to withdrew the 1,000nt, if ur account is at 0nt there is no penalty. U can also use their ATM card at stores to buy things as long as u have money in ur account of course.

hope this helps others

anyways my one friend made me interesting article that might help a lot of u
jsphfrtz.com/no-taiwan-arc-no-problem/

"If you’ve read my past blogs, you know that I talk about all kinds of random trouble in Taiwan, from banking to shopping to dealing with the government of the ROC. One of the most common frustrations with people without a Taiwan ARC is hearing the words, “No ARC? No…no…” Because of the simplistic way Taiwanese bureaucracy operates, most people are trained enough to handle most situations; this means that, because of the ever-present paranoid CYA attitude, most don’t even know how to deviate from the norm. Most Taiwanese think that foreigners must have an ARC, and most foreigners think so, too

Think about it: why do foreigners need an ARC to do things?

I always thought it was to prove the person is a resident of Taiwan. It’s not. What is important is your Taiwan ARC number. Every Taiwanese citizen has a number attached to them, sort of like how the USA has social security numbers. When a Taiwanese person goes in to apply for a membership card to their local grocer, just like in The States, they’d tell you, “You must have this government-issued number, to apply.” Foreigners are issued that number along with their resident visas; visitors to Taiwan are rarely here long enough for them to need this number, so this system almost always works fine for almost everyone.

What about the rest of us?

Lots of people visit Taiwan often, but are never residents. Others spend long amounts of time in Taiwan without having a resident/working visa. Those people are never issued numbers, and they all believe that they are screwed. They’re not. We are not. Getting an ID number is so easy, it’s scary.

Grab your passport; make a photocopy of the front page and your “stamp page.” Find the nearest Ministry of Foreign Affairs office. You want the Bureau of Consular Affairs – the office where they issue visa extensions and other visa-related stuff. Take a number. Over in the stacks of forms, you will see the following form:

Fill this form out. It will take very little time. Then, when your number is called, hand that form and your passport to the person behind the counter. You probably won’t even have to speak, unless they run a search (which they will) and see you have already been issued an ID number in the past (if you previously had residence) – if that is the case, you still have your original ID number, and don’t need a new one. In either case, they will print out and stamp a piece of paper that looks like this:

That paper is as good as a Taiwan ARC. You can use it to do anything that you would otherwise be told that you need a Taiwan ARC to do. Some people might give you flack for it, but stick to your guns – the only reason people don’t want to accept it is because no one knows that this official government service even exists. This official document confirms that you have a government issued ID number and specifically states that it is to be used in-place of a Taiwan ARC.

And that’s it – it’s that simple. It doesn’t cost anything, it lasts forever, and it’s extremely useful for everything from banks to cell phone operators. I’d recommend this to anyone staying in Taiwan for more than a month at a time; you can save money by doing on money transfer from your native account to a Taiwanese account, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in ATM fees. You’ll be able to get a Carrefour discount card (more valuable for those who plan to stay in Taiwan long-term or who return often). There will be more options to buy SIM cards, as well."