Sat, Dec 27, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Taiwan leads in IC card adoption

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan is the most active country in promoting integrated chip (IC) cards in the Asia-Pacific region, said a report by MasterCard International released yesterday.

The nation's business operators more clearly comprehend the advantages of IC cards than those in any other Asia Pacific country, it said.

The survey, conducted by MasterCard International in eight Asia-Pacific countries, said Tai-wan, Japan and Malaysia's merchants have the most abundant knowledge of IC card technology, while those in Hong Kong and Singapore are comparatively ignorant in this regard.

"Both the severe problem of fraudulent cards and keen competition amongst banks make Taiwan the pioneer in the adoption of IC cards," said Julie Yang (楊雅婷), senior director at MasterCard International.

The revenue lost to fraudulent credit cards from 2000 to 2001 amounted to around NT$3 billion, accounting for 0.004 percent of the total value of all transactions in Taiwan, Yang added.

The survey showed that about 77 percent of stores are willing to accept credit cards and nearly 50 percent of stores can "clearly identify" the advantages of IC cards.

In a bid to resolve the increasingly severe problems of card fraud in Taiwan, the Ministry of Finance ruled in October that the more than 600 million magnetic cards currently in circulation need to be converted into more secure IC cards by next June.

International credit card issuers like Visa and MasterCard are also promoting the conversion of magnetic credit cards into IC cards by 2006.

Taiwan's banks are contemplating adopting a combo card system in order to save costs and consumers trouble by taking this opportunity.

Eyeing the needs of the banking sector, MasterCard provided Taiwan's banks with IC combo card systems which meets the highest international security standards, with each IC card costing under NT$100.

Hong Kong has adopted the multiple application operating system in its personal identification system, Yang said. Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行) and Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) have decided to utilize this system, he added.

Around 40,000 credit card readers in Taiwan, accounting for 25 percent of total readers, have finalized the transformation, with an average of up to 3,000 readers to be changed per month, according to the report.

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