Thu, Jan 18, 2007 - Page 12 News List

President Chain announces `icashwave' initiative

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chain Store Corp (統一超商) announced yesterday it would increase its cooperation with Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託銀行), Taiwan's largest credit card issuer, by launching a co-brand, contactless credit card in the first quarter.

The contactless card, which has an embedded chip that lets users wave it near a reading panel instead of swiping it, is called "icashwave."

It functions as an electronic wallet for purchases below NT$500 and can be used as a credit card for larger amounts.

The card is an extension of the icash payment service President Chain already offers at 7-Eleven stores, the nation's largest convenience store chain.

It has issued 4.2 million icash cards -- in which customers can load money -- since their introduction in 2004.

"The project enhances the functions of 7-Eleven's stored-value icash mechanism and boosts Chinatrust Commercial's number of credit cards and utility rate," the two companies said in a joint statement.

Consumers can apply for the new co-brand card from March 1 and begin to use them at approximately 4,500 7-Eleven stores nationwide in the second quarter, the retailer said.

The new payment tool is expected to be used in 40 million transactions per year, it added.

Chinatrust Commercial's other co-brand cardholders could also enjoy the service soon, Chinatrust Commercial chairman Charles Lo (羅聯福) said yesterday at a launch ceremony.

Lo said that companies like Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) and Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) had agreed to include the icash function in their co-brand cards, adding that the number of such cards exceeded 2.5 million.

As part of the two companies' partnership, Chinatrust Commercial said it would offer new automatic teller machines (ATM) with a cash deposit function at 7-Eleven outlets in the fourth quarter.

This would enable 7-Eleven to build an extensive network of banking services, President Chain president Hsu Chung-jen (徐重仁) said yesterday.

ATMs located at 7-Eleven stores recorded an average of 7.4 million transactions per month last year, the company said.

The number of ATMs in 7-Eleven stores is expected to increase to 3,450 units

by April, up from 2,897 at the end of last year, making the convenience

store chain the largest ATM channel in the country, it said.

President Chain began a project in 2003 with Chinatrust Commercial by

installing ATMs in its convenience store chain after the latter acquired

Grand Commercial Bank (萬通銀行), which is controlled by President's parent

company, Uni-President Group (統一集團).

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