Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Bank issues tourism sector credit card

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Union Bank of Taiwan (聯邦銀行) announced yesterday it was issuing the nation's first commercial credit card for the tourism industry, to facilitate business to business (B2B) transactions.

Similar to individual credit cards, the new product allows travel agents to purchase plane tickets and tour packages from airlines or wholesalers -- usually large-scale travel agencies including South East Travel Services (東南旅行社) and Lion Travel Service Co (雄獅旅行社).

When paying for transactions, cardholders can use the cards or provide card numbers for online purchases.

"This new process can help us slash operation costs and reduce transaction risks," said Johnson Tseng (曾盛海), chairman of the Travel Agent Association of Taiwan, at a signing ceremony yesterday.

Given multiple transaction methods available, including checks, cash and remittances, Tseng said travel agencies often waste time and manpower dealing with bills.

Furthermore, concerns over bounced checks or transaction fraud have sometimes distracted agencies, he said.

It is estimated that the nation's 2,400 travel agencies have created NT$300 billion (US$9 billion) worth of B2B product sales this year, while more than 8 million Taiwanese people have traveled abroad during the same period of time.

The scheme allows product suppliers to receive money within three days after transactions are confirmed, and buyers can delay payment by up to 30 days.

Union Bank charges a 0.6 percent handling fee and expects turnover of NT$30 billion via the commercial card program next year, the bank's president Lee Shian-chang (李憲章) said.

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