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Mobile Commerce Comes of Age for Taiwan's 23 Million Consumers

New smartphone payment system sets out to digitally enfranchise the majority of Taiwanese lacking credit card access.

Photo: Call charges: Mobile payments come to Taiwan. (Shutterstock.com)
Call charges: Mobile payments come to Taiwan.
Photo: Call charges: Mobile payments come to Taiwan. (Shutterstock.com)
Call charges: Mobile payments come to Taiwan.

Taiwan's mobile payment companies have recently announced that the Payment Service Provider Trusted Service Manager (PSP TSM) payment platform will soon be operational, with mobile phone credit and bankcard services being launched concurrently. This will be followed by the introduction of a mobile bank account in April 2015.

After completing registration for the service, customers will be able "tap and pay" via their smartphones at more than 30,000 shops throughout Taiwan. They can choose to debit payments from their credit card, bankcard or bank account, again via their mobile devices. For a number of industry commentators, this marks the true dawn of mobile commerce in Taiwan.

Back on December 30 last year, the Taiwan Mobile Payment Co Ltd, a joint venture by Taiwan's three major clearing organisations (the Financial Information Service Co Ltd, the National Credit Card Center of ROC, and the Taiwan Payments Clearing System Development Foundation), 32 banks and the EasyCard Corporation, announced the imminent launch the "t wallet" payment system. In part, this new development will digitally enfranchise the vast number of Taiwan residents who hold bank accounts, but have no credit cards. The major advantage of the "t wallet" is that it integrates customers' bank accounts, allowing those without credit cards to make mobile phone payments. With payments directly debited from bank accounts, this allows for a growth in the number of cashless transactions.

By bringing together the three major clearing organisations and the majority of banks, the "t wallet" is said to offer more features than any other mobile payment platform currently available in Taiwan.

With regard to the exact specifications, capabilities and technical requirements, the following guidelines have been issued by the Taiwan Mobile Payment Co:

Installed Payment Functions: Credit cards and bankcards during the first phase. Extended to bank accounts in April 2015.

Issue Volume: 10,000 audio-jack add-on devices (developed by On Track Innovations (OTI)) are currently available to bank customers.

Payment Channel: Accepted in any of Taiwan's 30,000-plus shops capable of receiving contactless payments, as well as Visa and MasterCard's point-of-sale (POS) contactless payment machines.

Cross-brand Co-operation: Visa and MasterCard during first phase. Later extended to JCB, American Express and China UnionPay.

Co-operation with ADTC: Customers of any of the five mobile phone operators forming the Alliance Digital Tech Co (ADTC) are eligible to sign-up for the service.

Mobile Phone Brands: Suitable for all smartphones. Earlier model iPhones may require an audio-jack add-on device.

Francess Lin, Taiwan Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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