OK, you hear stuff like this in Taiwan all the time, but you just never know if to believe it. Please let me know if you have any information about this:
A friend told me that if your ARC gets canceled for whatever reason, the government has the right to “freeze” your bank accounts so that you cannot access your money. This sounds horrible and unjust (after all, if you had an ARC, then most likely the money in the account was legally made, dui bu dui?).
Is this true? Does anyone know of someone that this happened to? I hope this is just another one of those Taiwan urban legends.
This is only HALF true. When your ARC expires your ability to withdraw funds from another country using your 4 digit PIN on an IC card will stop working. You will still be able to access your account while in Taiwan (at least I was) This has happened to me while I was renewing my ARC and my spouse was in the U.S. trying to use the card. She tried both the 6 digit PIN (for use with an IC card here) and the 4 digit PIN for use internationally. Neither would work. It wasn’t a BIG deal as she had enough money with her but it was a good learning experience for me. We confirmed this to be the case with the bank and after my renewal was signed and stamped, she was able to access the account. The lesson I learned was if one leaves the country to renew an expired ARC and thinks they will be OK with their IC card in tow - think again. I have also heard of one individual who returned home permanently and planned on withdrawing Canadian dollars from their Taiwan account after getting home. He ended up getting help from friends to get his money back home. Of course, from other posts here, perhaps someone would like to give it a try. After all, experience has shown to be the best teacher. I had mine - now it’s someone else’s turn.
This would require an awful lot of coordination among different government agencies as well as the bank(s) … so somehow this seems rather unlikely considering that it’s a well-known fact that communication between various agencies and bureaus here is … well … not that great.
Also, unless you had direct deposit from your place of employment, it seems that it would be awfully troublesome to track down your bank information, and Taiwanese bureaucrats hate “mafan”. So, I wouldn’t worry about it.
My account at ICBC has been frozen twice - both times I had failed to provide the branch with an updated copy of my ARC after I had renewed it. No great coordination involved - the branch has a copy of my ARC and inputs its expiry date into the system. I am locked out of my account a week or so after the expiry date. In order to get at my account, I had to go into the branch with my ARC and a copy for the bank’s records.
I’ve never been required to go to my bank for anything other than replacing my lost or eaten ATM cards. Of course my account is a savings account so that might be why they aren’t too worried about me overdrafting and running.
I’ve had accounts at Taipei Bank (now Taipei Fubang Bank) and BOA retail (now ABN Amro) for many years. Never have I provided any update of my ARC, and never have I had any such problem, nor have I heard of anyone else having such a problem until now. Just FYI.
Have been delving around in this issue myself recently due to some money laundering matters… Anyway, from what I’ve been told it seems that yes, all the banks have put limits on foreigner transactions, although I’ve no idea when this started. The most basic one is an annual limit on account use that has to be updated every year. Every 12 months, you physically have to walk into the branch where you opened your account and present your Juliuzheng, otherwise they freeze the account until you turn-up. I asked a few banks about this (including the postal savings system thingy) and they all concurred. Has anyone else come up against this? BIG change from when I first came here. Back then, you only needed a visitor visa and a passport and you could open an account forever (I kept accounts alive at First and ICBC while I was back in Australia for several years). Not sure if the current move to closure is market driven (keeping accounts alive forever with 60NT in them is no doubt expensive), or govt driven (another loophole closed by some overkeen lower-level guanliao in the Chen administration).
One of my accounts (HsinChu Bank) requires that I go to the branch where I opened the account and process my bankbook through the auto bankbook reader/writer. It cut me off from ATMs one time and upon inquiry I learned that they require this after 50 uses of an ATM. My other accounts have not had this problem (yet) However, this freeze stuff is different.
When I opened my account two years ago at E.Sun, all I had was a passport. I don’t think my bank even knows I have an ARC now as I’ve never bothered to update them. I have noticed, however, that I have been able to withdraw money from overseas using my ATM card, while my partner, who doesn’t have an ARC, cannot. He simply can not access his account from anywhere outside Taiwan.
I find this all very upsetting. We are leaving Taiwan next month and all our savings are in my account, because I have the ARC. How would you advise me to go about withdrawing my money in a way that won’t get me in trouble? My school has promised not to cancel my ARC until after I leave, but you never know with them.
I don’t know of any way that you would “get into troble” by transferring your money to another account in your home country. Simply ask the bank to do it for you. Fill out your form present your ARC and passport (at least at my bank) and it will arrive in your home bank in about 3 days. The bank will charge a fee for this and a premium on the exchange rate so do it at one shot or (for 2) 2 shots. Don’t forget that some countries have a max limit for carry-on cash (UNDER 10,000 U.S. for States)
My ealier post only informed of our experieince, and the banks confirmation of the issue, that our ability to access our account via ATM via IC card from abroad was frozen when my ARC expired.
There is no need to get panicky about this. Just be aware.
Yes, when you are about to leave, just wire the money out to your account abroad, as described above. The wire fee is usually a flat fee, so there’s no reason to break it up into 2+ wires. The exchange rate probably won’t change based on the size of the wire unless you get into huge amounts, in which case you might be able to negotiate a microscopically better rate with the bank.
If you wire that money to a North American account, be prepared to pay taxes on it, declare it as income or whatver…
I wonder if with Citibank or HSBC you can just change your address to a North American address…? I was at Citibank and they said they’d send my mail to Canada. With Citibank you can buy American mutual funds and stocks. A good way to invest for retirement, unless they close your account when you leave!
Well, if you’re leaving for good, take it all out before you leave … either traveler’s cheques, a bank check (in US$ or Euros), or have it wired to an overseas account.
I’ve known about the not being able to withdraw money from overseas thing for a long time (which is unfair and ridiculous, but hey …), so I just make sure I have enough cash with me, plus my credit cards.
I have accounts with both the post office and ChinaTrust (the spawn of Satan bank), and have never had to go in to update my ARC information.