Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - Page 13 News List

FSC backs dual-currency cards

CROSS-STRAIT CARDS:The plan to issue dual-currency credit cards in yuan and NT dollars, coupled with a stronger economy, is expected to raise credit-card spending

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday voiced support for plans by domestic lenders to issue dual-currency credit cards offering payment services in both New Taiwan dollars and yuan.

“The new business will be possible once banks overcome the technical barriers, likely eight months from now,” Banking Bureau Director-General Kuei Hsien-nung (桂先農) said at a press conference.

Banks may start preparations and promotion campaigns right away, while waiting for the cross-strait service trade agreement to clear the legislature given the matter involves China’s currency, Kuei said, adding that the legislative branch may take action on the pact as early as March.

The central bank also has given its blessing to dual-currency credit cards, he said.

The plan, coupled with a stronger economy, is expected to raise credit-card spending in Taiwan this year.

National Credit Card Center (NCCC, 聯合信用卡中心) chairman Liu Teng-cheng (劉燈城) said in November last year that the agency aims to push total credit-card payments to NT$1.3 trillion (US$44.02 billion) this year, accounting for 25 percent of total private consumption, from 20 percent.

Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) is more upbeat, forecasting that credit-card payments could rise to NT$1.58 trillion as cross-border shopping via the Internet gains popularity.

Meanwhile, Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman William Tseng (曾銘宗) said yesterday that the commission would review day trading and other measures aimed at boosting stock market turnover and expressed satisfaction with recent volumes.

“We have achieved the goal of raising daily turnover to above the NT$100 billion level each session so far this year,” Tseng said, adding that the figures reflected the recovering confidence of individual investors, given the modest net contributions made by institutional players.

However, turnover higher than NT$160 billion is not all positive, as it suggests volatility and greater risks, he said.

The commission needs more time to decide whether to extend day trading to all stocks from shares of the 200 large-cap firms, Tseng said.

The commission urged all listed firms, especially those under the agency’s supervision, to raise their employees’ wages to reflect their improved profits.

Corporate earnings jumped 59 percent as of the third quarter last year, compared with 2012, he said.

In related news, the Bureau of Foreign Trade yesterday said it has targeted export growth of 4.2 percent this year.

On Monday, the Ministry of Finance reported exports grew only 0.7 percent year-on-year to US$303.22 billion last year, the second-highest amount ever, but far short of the bureau’s original target of 5.5 percent growth.

The bureau believes the economy will improve this year and forecast a relatively optimistic figure for economic growth of between 2.7 percent and 3 percent, higher than the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics forecast of 2.59 percent.

The bureau expects international trade volume to grow by 3 percent to 5 percent over the year, given forecasts that global trade will grow by between 4.9 percent and 5.2 percent.

Additional reporting by CNA

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