Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Bureaucracy at commission is causing innovation to grind to a halt: EasyCard

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

EasyCard Corp (悠遊卡) yesterday continued its criticism of the Financial Supervisory Commission, saying that the stranglehold of “bureaucratic culture” at the regulator has been stifling innovation.

The company has been seeking approval to expand the scope of its EasyCard to include online payments and transactions by linking physical cards to virtual accounts, but its application has been mired in the review process for nearly two years.

EasyCard chairman Kenneth Lin (林向愷) said the company has been in talks with the regulator to gain approval under the Act Governing Issuance of Electronic Stored Value Cards (電子票證發行管理條例) since March last year, but the commission has apparently shifted its stance.

The commission has asked the company to seek approval under the terms of the Act Governing Electronic Payment Institutions (電子支付機構管理條例), the same route taken by southern rival iPass Corp (一卡通票證) to gain clearance for online payments.

“The nation does not need another entrant into the already crowded space for cashless payment services,” Lin said on the sidelines of the World Congress on Information Technology in Taipei. “The company is only looking to improve the level of convenience for EasyCard holders.”

EasyCard’s target market is transactions of less than NT$1,000, he said, outlining plans to link EasyCards with the Taipei City Government’s Pay.Taipei service for payments of fees such as utilities and parking.

The commission has an unwritten “pre-approval” process that must be passed before a company can submit an application to provide new products and services, Lin said, adding that such a mechanism is a reflection of favoritism at the regulator.

However, the commission said that EasyCard’s application hinges on whether cardholders have their real names registered with the virtual accounts to ensure security and that compliance requirements are met.

All online payment services operated by electronic payment institutions or credit card companies have users’ real names registered without exception, Banking Bureau Deputy Director-General Sherri Chuang (莊琇媛) said at a news conference.

“To our knowledge, the majority of the estimated 65 million EasyCards in circulation are not registered with users’ real names and are not linked to cobranded credit cards,” Chuang said.

That has left the regulator hesitant to give the firm a green light for online transactions, Chuang said, adding that EasyCard has not clarified its position on cards without a real name registered.

While Lin told reporters that the company would encourage holders to register their real name, he did not specify whether registration would become mandatory.

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