A guide to Taiwanese VISA Debit Cards

~ ~ ~ Posted in January 2011; last edited/updated on August 19, 2013 ~ ~ ~

This post, which is meant to be a resource and may therefore be updated from time to time, contains information found in the thread at forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.ph … &start=100 and in subsequent messages in this thread.

VISA debit card: how to get it

Typically you need to apply at your bank (some banks may automatically issue such a card to a new customer). Successful applicants have in almost all cases mentioned that they needed to show a valid passport and an ARC for a period of at least one year (notable exceptions, with usage limited cards: Post Office, Bank of Taiwan). YMMV - so please let us know any news you may have…

VISA debit card: where to use it

Please see the following first-hand information from people who have a VISA Debit Card. If you have a question or useful information, please feel free to add to this thread - but please do not quote this message, since it is still updated form time to time (quoting it leads to outdated information showing up up in Yahoo and Google searches).

Important Notice:

Your VISA Debit Card MAY become unusable abroad once your ARC has expired or has been cancelled - here are some first hand reports:

Many thanks to all contributors! :bow:

Note: I removed the color coding, since most cards are now full use cards (where that is not the case, the most recent comments will indicate it)

VISA Debit Cards

[color=#0000FF]Taishin Bank[/color]

  • the card works online: has it linked to Paypal, Amazon, etc.
  • the card works abroad
  • has been using his card on the internet as well as for international purchases
  • has linked the card to Paypal, Amazon, etc. (no problem using it with Amazon) and uses it for recurring monthly/quarterly payments payment
  • says that the card works like a regular credit card
  • got the card in less than a week from applying
  • the card has only a 6-digit PIN
  • has used his card abroad (in the US, the UK, and Austria) to withdraw money, using the 6 digit PIN
    Equilibrium (June 27, 2011 update)
  • reports getting the card within 30 minutes after being persistent when talking with a staff member who mistakenly thought it was not available to foreigners :wink:
  • says the card has a 6 digit PIN for local ATM use and a 4 digit PIN for international ATM use
    cfimages (May 22, 2012 update)
  • I had to get a replacement card. Took about 5-10 minutes.
    The new card doesn’t have my name on the card or the raised digits on it, and says “electronic use only”.
    They assured me it […] will work everywhere except on an actual airplane (buying duty free in-flight).
    Linked it to Amazon and bought a Kindle book, added it to Paypal and did the verification charge and it worked okay.
    List of branches (in English): taishinbank.com.tw/english/branch.jsp?
    Taishin Bank doesn’t have many branches outside the large urban areas, but it has ATMs in Family Mart convenience stores

[color=#0000FF]First Bank[/color] (第一銀行)

  • it was easy to get a card for use in Taiwan and abroad
  • the card has 2 PINs, one 4 digits and one 6 digits
  • (updated: 2011 July 01:) the card can now be used for internet purchases (including Amazon)
  • has an electronic use only card that can be used in shops and at ATMs in Taiwan but not online
    (the regular debit card of this bank can be used online, as well - see the related section)
  • not yet confirmed whether it can be used in hotels or stores overseas
    YangGuiZi[/b] (Dec 12, 2012 update)
  • got a card (at the branch on the corner of Fuhe Rd. and Zhongzhen Rd. in Yonghe) for online and international use.
  • staff spoke good English
    List of branches (in Mandarin): firstbank.com.tw/A7.1.html

[color=#0000FF]Hua Nan Bank[/color]

  • (old information) the card can only be used for purchases locally or on Taiwan-based websites
  • the bank had mentioned this restriction in advance
    the bear (June 27, 2011 update)
  • the card has become usable for Internet transactions, overseas hotels, etc.
  • the bear reports not having an ARC
    tango42 (June 8, 2012 update)
  • I opened an account at Hua Nan bank 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.
    (went together with a local friend who uses the bank at that location, whom the staff recognized. and who did a lot of the talking)

[color=#0000FF]Fubon Bank Taiwan[/color]
Mucha Man

  • his card has a 7 digit PIN for use in Taiwan and a 4 digit PIN for international ATM withdrawals
  • has used it for online purchases (e.g., Kindle books, plane tickets, groceries, hotel rooms, etc.)
  • fraud protection: after each purchase he gets a confirmation message to his cell phone
  • there is no name on the card
  • he reports that he used the card all over Alaska with no troubles for car rental, plane tickets, restaurant bills, etc.
  • no longer has an account with that bank but had a card from them once
  • the PIN had 4 digits
  • the card worked over the internet
  • there was no name on the card

[color=#0000FF]China Trust[/color]

  • the card works online but only for websites that DO NOT have the ‘verified by visa’ security feature (like amazon.com) - but this limitation appears to be a bug, not a feature, and CT said it’s under repair
    mike029 (Apr 14, 2012 update)
  • My Chinatrust card worked overseas in Malaysia and Singapore when I wanted to withdraw cash with no issue
    ThorsMallet (June 6, 2012 update)
  • got a Visa debit card (had to show his ARC) that is supposed to work online and abroad (has a 6 digit PIN for Taiwan and a 4 digit one for international use)
    YangGuiZi[/b] (Dec 12, 2012 update)
  • got a card no problem (at Zhongshan Rd. Sec 2 branch in Banqiao) for online use, domestic shopping, and ATMs, etc. (Not yet used abroad)
    Had to return to the bank to get some restrictions lifted after first attempting to use it on the internet.
    List of branches (in English): chinatrust.com.tw/english/b … n05_01.htm
    China Trust has ATMs in 7/11 convenience stores

[color=#0000FF]HSBC Taiwan[/color]

  • it was easy to get the card
  • the card has both 4 digit and 6 digit PINs
  • the card can be used for internet purchases (except Amazon)
    Charlie Phillips
  • his card has a 6 digit pin for local and 4 for international ATMs
  • there is no fee to use it at HSBC ATMs anywhere in the world
  • the card can be used for internet purchases (except Amazon)
    Steve4nLanguage (Dec 14, 2012 update)
  • opened an account (Taoyuan) in June with NT30,000; has ARC, got a debit card with the Visa logo; can use it at stores in Taiwan and online.
    List of branches and ATMs (in English): hsbc.com.tw/1/2/Misc/common- … ce-channel

[color=#0000FF]Taiwan Cooperative Bank[/color]

  • has used the card successfully for an online purchase at Amazon
  • the card can be used in stores
  • the card has two PINs: six digits in Taiwan, four outside Taiwan (so says the clerk)
  • the card can be used to withdraw money from ATM’s outside Taiwan
  • the card cannot be used for direct store purchases outside Taiwan
  • no name on the card


  • did not apply to use it overseas
  • the card has two PIN numbers (4 and 6 digits) and was activated as soon as it was used in an ATM
  • the card can be used in most shops and to some extent online (it apparently works with Amazon and Paypal - in certain situations - but not with ebuyer)
  • the card doesn’t have the number printed on the back side that is needed to use it for “card-not-present” transactions (like online)
  • the card seems easy to get: when opening an account the staff offered it
    trubadour (Apr 14, 2012 update)
  • My card (Visa Electron) now also works without a hitch on the bookdepository.co.uk site

[color=#0000FF]Union Bank[/color]
Mr He

  • one needs to ask for the option to use it overseas when applying
  • the card has 2 pin codes.

[color=#0000FF]Taiwanese Post Office Bank[/color]

[color=#0000FF]Cathay United Bank Taiwan[/color]

  • hasn’t tried yet using the card abroad, but it has two pin codes and it should at worst work as an ATM card abroad
  • the card can be used in all shops in Taiwan
  • the card can’t be used online
    enn (September 19, 2011 update)
  • the card can be used abroad to pay for purchases in shops
  • the card also worked as an ATM card abroad until the ARC got cancelled

[color=#0000FF]Bank of Taiwan[/color]

  • reports getting a Visa Debit Card with only a visitor visa and the paper with the ID number from immigration office
    (note: the document with this number can be used in place of an ARC and is available free of charge from the immigration office)
  • on the card there is the expression “Electronic Use Only” (which according to somebody else’s explanation means the card cannot be used online)
  • the card is valid for 7 years
    Bobarctor (Aug 19, 2013 update)
  • “electronic use only” card now works for any transaction (web payement, credit card payment and ATM) and in several countries without problems.
  • can’t be used beyond ARC expiry date

Other useful information:

[quote=“Charlie Phillips”]When my Taiwan Debit Visa doesn’t work, I use https://www.entropay.com/
It will cost you 5% but that’s the difference between a debit and credit card. I’ve often had the Taiwan Visa Debit card rejected but never the Virtual Visa.[/quote]
The company offering this service says they are working in cooperation with VISA and Mastercard, so that would explain why a payment coming from them would normally be accepted.

my latest updates on ChinaTrust Visa Debit Card, I was on the phone with their customer service just now.

I tried lodging a complaint two weeks ago at the Banking Bureau Financial Supervisory Commission (banking.gov.tw/Layout/main_e … x?frame=13)
as per JHW suggestion on the previous topic thread, ChinaTrust customer service finally got back to me on phone for a few times this week, trying to solve this problem.

At first, they called back to inform me that their system was designed to allow foreigners account, and they don’t purposely block foreigners account, then asked me to try applying for the visa 3d security again. It didn’t work and after some explanations from me, and checking on their parts, going on like this for few days, they finally convinced that it was not working for foreigners account due to a bug in system.

They explained that no one had complain this before, and they already filed a bug fixing request to their system maintainer. I was told this will probably takes some time before it’ll get fixed and deployed, probably around end of March, pushed late due to upcoming chinese new year break. They’ll call me again to let me know when it’s done.

tl;dr: Chinatrust VDC has a bug on visa 3d for foreigners account, scheduled to be fixed around end of March.

I have a debit card from Mega Bank (can’t see a short hand in OP).
I can use it in most shops but not online (as far as I know) and not abroad (I have not applied to use it overseas).
It was issued when I applied for my account (they asked if I wanted one). I just showed them the regular two forms of ID (one of which was my passport), they gave me two PIN numbers (4 and 6 digits) and it was activated as soon as used it in a machine. I have lost it many times and have had excellent service from both VISA and the bank. I’d love to be able to make online purchases (esp. from Amazon) with it.
I remember trying to register it but it does not have the PIN on the reverse side of the card necessary for online purchases (which the debit card from my UK banks always had).
I look forward to seeing progress on this issue. :pray:

Some extra info about mine in case it helps.

I can use it anywhere you can use a normal credit card. As mentioned above, it’s linked to my Paypal and I’ve used it at Amazon. I also have a couple of monthly payments to service providers in the US that come out automatically, I’ve book and paid for flights online with it, used it in a hotel overseas, used it to upgrade Photoshop through Adobe’s US website and so forth. It’s also meant to work in overseas ATMs but I didn’t try it. I do have a 4 digit pin as well as the 6 digit one.

I also have an electronic use only visa debit card from First Bank that can be used in Taiwan but not online. I think it can be used in hotels, stores etc overseas but haven’t tried.

There was a problem a couple years ago using them for online purchases but that is no longer the case.


Good to know - i got myself a Taishin account in 2009 (during my first visit to Taiwan) and will apply later this year, once i have my ARC. :slight_smile:

Interesting… what does “electronic use only” mean?


Interesting… what does “electronic use only” mean?[/quote][/quote]

I think it means it’s got to be physically swiped through the machine.

It’s there now. :slight_smile: Thanks for the info!

… and the other one your ARC?

Oh… and i thought it meant “online”… which didn’t jive, of course…
OK, so it means it can’t be used for “card-not-present” transactions.

Thanks for the info! So it’s a bug, not a feature… :wink:
Will update the entry…

Let us know, OK?

It’s there now. :slight_smile: Thanks for the info!

… and the other one your ARC?[/quote]

Nice work putting this info together.

I show my passport and ARC every time they ask for ID.

Just remembered - I have also been given the OK to do my banking online, (when I asked for and was given, a separate savings account to transfer money into) but I haven’t been able to sort out the logging on process (too much Chinese I can’t translate). This hasn’t been mentioned yet, but is definitely a good thing. I will sort this out after CNY and update.

Enjoy the holiday, and please come back with some info later. :slight_smile:

Mine has 2 pin codes.

I have a permanent ARC, they took a copy of that.

An ARC would do, I guess.

I have since graduated to a credit card, and that takes care of all issues re online usage etc.


Thanks for the other data… i’ve updated the info in the listing…

I opened a bank account at the Taipei Fubon Bank at the Nangang Software Park branch with my passport and 3-year ARC and was issued a visa debit card on the spot…it was a generic one without my name on the card. The lady just wrote my account information onto the bank of the card with a permanent marker and set me up with a 4-digit PIN.

Haven’t tried to use it overseas because it doesn’t have my name on it, but it does work over the internet.

I asked the Fubon lady about this and she said that it simply means that the visa debit card has a computer chip and cannot be used in the old-fashioned credit card imprinting system because it has no embossed letters, so imprinting the card wouldn’t work. She says that this is only a problem when the electronic authorization system that pretty much everyone uses these days fails to work and they have to use the imprinting machine to copy down your credit card.

And if any of you did want to go with Fubon, I would advise against giving them your email address or set up online banking. The online banking system is pretty useless and it does not always offer instant updates. The interface is also pretty horrid. The worst thing is that they keep sending you these annoying spam letters IN CHINESE WITH NO WAY TO UNSUBSCRIBE THEM…one of the reasons that I closed the Fubon account immediately after my Taishin credit card application was approved. Even them the spam still kept on coming…

Had to get a Taiwanese cosigner to help with my Taishin CC application, and all I got was this lousy EasyCard-linked no-frills visa card with a pathetic NT$50,000 credit line. I haven’t had this low of a credit line ever since when I was 18 back home.

catfish13: thanks for the info; i’ve added it to the list at the head of this thread…

My card is from Cathay and it’s the most basic debit card, can be used in all shops in Taiwan, haven’t tried abroad, but it has two pin codes and it should at worst work as an ATM card abroad. I got it when I applied for the account rather than an ATM card.
I also have online banking, but it’s all in Chinese and they have some idiotic restrictions, like if I want to transfer money to another account, I need to go and let the bank know first and sign a piece of paper with the other account number on it… :loco:

You mean Cathay United Bank (a Taiwanese bank) and not Cathay Bank (a US bank with a Taiwan Office), is that right?

Thanks for the info - I’ll add it to the file at the head of this thread…