I substantially agree with what has been said so far. Apart from the convenience of online banking in general (this applies globally), it would be particularly beneficial for foreigners in Taiwan for these two reasons, from my point of view.
It eliminates the need to deal with bank staff, who (I am sure we have all experienced that to some extent) get pale when they see foreigners, make things unnecessarily complicated just to avoid losing face by admitting that they don’t know or even deny services that another branch (or -sigh- voice raising) might allow. Online banking creates a buffer between the foreigner and the back-office with the former submitting documents as requested and the latter processing them or asking for clarifications where unsure, without losing face. This, of course, assuming that said online platform is well developed, user-friendly and hiccup-free (not frequent in Taiwan, sadly).
It allows banks to prepare English-based (or even multilingual) platforms where all the necessary documents and explanations are available for the foreigners who do not speak/read Mandarin to check beforehand. By doing this, foreigners who are new to Taiwan will not need the (stereo)typical girlfriend/classmate to come over, settle things on their behalf and leave them with signed papers that they have no idea about.
I proposed nr. 2 to a local insurance company years back as a way to make plans understandable to and purchasable by foreigners, but was unsurprisingly dismissed with smiles and “compliments on my great idea”, and nothing more. So @fifieldt I’m a great supporter of your work in this direction
I like to quote Circles.Life as a parallel example of a fully online telco that does not only offer good rates and coverage, but most of all a smooth subscription process with passport and ARC (or NHI/driving licence) and instant assistance via live chat. Not the horror stories that I read here sometimes when other foreigners try it with one of the other “traditional” telcos.
Just an add-on. When I discuss the topic of making things more available to foreigners, smoothen up the red tape or improving bilingual versions with my friends here, the answer that I usually receive is: “foreigners in Taiwan are not enough to justify the effort, especially in the money-driven private sector”.
I don’t wanna delve into the fairness/unfairness of this statement. But do you guys think that it makes sense from an economic perspective that a Taiwanese bank or insurance company does not consider upgrading its services to cater for a relatively small number of foreigners worth the trouble (and associated expenses)?
In a word, consistency. Going into a branch for even the simplest tasks is a crapshoot–I’m now on my 5th visit to Cathay trying to get an ID number changed, and they’ve already asked me to come in for a 6th because the teller messed up the paperwork yet again. The incompetent and/or unempowered human at the counter has always been the weakest link in my experience.
I recommend we take the proposal one step further and suggest they require all banks to only operate online.
Sorry I can’t answer that cause I remember they didn’t have ATM’s so if I wanted to make a deposit using another bank atm, I’d have to pay a fee so in the end, I’m not using it at all, I can only confirm foreigners can open an account with them
OK thanks. I always wondered what the draw was with these fintech banks popping up. I doubt they really being much to the table that existing big banks don’t either have already or can easily copy. Plus Taiwanese tend to like old established banks as they feel safer so…
We’re about due for a follow-up meeting to see what the FSC found out.
On my end I’ve been working the problem that no system exists for banks to verify ARC IDs in an automated manner. Such a system exists for 身份證 , and so this is one of the reasons foreign residents get put in the “too hard” basket.
I always assumed it wasn’t the difficulty of programming. It was that various companies liked foreigners being singled out so that discriminatory practices of the company can be applied.
It would be no good if an automated system checked the credit of a foreigner, deemed them to be creditworthy, and issued a credit card or loan automatically without demanding a guarantor or deposit would it. Or a foreigner with good credit getting the newest iPhone on payments without having to go into the store for an hassle. Or even the high speed train allowing a foreigner with a permanent disability cheaper train tickets online.
according to the current domestic regulations, online banking can accept foreigners to open accounts, and the Commission will understand the reasons for the refusal.
and the conclusion by the FSC after talking with the banks:
The banks said that due to their small scale, they are still expanding their customer base of general customers. In the future, they will gradually expand service scope as the business does, and then foreigners will be included.
TL;DR - it’s not you, it’s us.
There’s a lot of analysis that can be done here, just providing the data point for now.