Thu, Oct 01, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa Post teams up with Visa to offer debit card

BENEFITS To attract new cardholders and compete with credit-card issuers, the postal company will offer discounts at restaurants, retailers, hotels and airlines

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A model displays a debit card issued by Chunghwa Post in Taipei yesterday. The card is Chunghwa Post’s first debit card.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

State-run Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政) yesterday teamed up with Visa International to launch its first debit card, available to its 20 million account holders. Chunghwa is the first post office in the Asia-Pacific region to offer the service.

“We hope every one of our account holders above the age of 18 will apply for this debit card to help manage their finances while enjoying shopping,” company president Hu Sheue-yun (胡雪雲) said at a launch ceremony yesterday.

The “buy now, pay now” card will not allow cardholders to overspend at Visa International’s global outlets. The card will also function as an ATM card at 1.4 million Visa ATMs worldwide and ATMs at the post office’s 1,321 outlets, Hu said.

Expressing confidence that the card would be popular, Hu said Chunghwa Post is the nation’s largest financial institution, with NT$4.5 trillion (US$139.8 million) in deposits since issuing more than 12 million ATM cards.

To attract new cardholders and compete with credit-card issuers, the postal company will offer a series of benefits including cash rebates and discounts at participating restaurants, retailers, hotels and airlines, in addition to a cash lotto worth up to NT$10,000.

Marco Ma (麻少華), Visa International’s Taiwan manager, yesterday said debit cards were gaining popularity at home and abroad in light of defaults on credit and cash cards since 2005.

“Once users are accustomed to the [debit] card spending model, many may stick with it,” Ma said on the sidelines of the ceremony.

As of March, the credit-card issuer had issued 1.7 billion cards worldwide, nearly 54 percent of which have debit functions, he said.

Visa’s debit cardholders spend an average NT$4,000 to NT$5,000 per month per person, compared with an average of NT$3,000 for credit cardholders, he said.

Separately, Teng Tien-lai (鄧添來), director-general of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ department of post & telecommunications, assured the post office’s depositors that the firm’s NT$220 billion loan to the banking consortium of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵) would be risk free. The consortium will shoulder the default risk, he said.

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