Tue, Mar 26, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Cathay United plans Alipay scan for Airport MRT fare

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Cooperation with Alipay (支付寶) would enable Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) customers to ride on the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line by scanning a code with a mobile device, a service expected to launch by the fourth quarter of this year, the bank said yesterday.

The lender is planning to introduce Alipay’s “transport code” as its latest effort to grow its business, one manager told the Taipei Times by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Targeting China’s public transportation network, Alipay, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), launched a service that allows users to pay transportation fares by scanning the code as they board public transit, such as buses or MRT trains.

“We hope that we can offer local consumers a more convenient tool for riding on the Airport MRT line by enabling them to pay with a credit card or use an electronic payment method such as the transport code,” the manager said.

The bank’s board of directors on Thursday last week approved a proposal to cooperate with Alipay, Cathay United said.

The lender would integrate the technology behind Alipay’s transport code into its own system so that the new service could launch in the fourth quarter of this year, he said.

The bank expects the service to give its business a big boost, as people are always looking for innovative payment tools and the ridership of the Airport MRT line is massive, the manager said.

Presently, the Airport MRT line only accepts credit cards that have the EasyCard payment tool, but the MRT line is expected to accept regular credit cards sometime this year, the manager said, adding that credit cards issued by companies such as Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc, JCB International Co and China UnionPay Co (中國銀聯) would likely be accepted during the initial stage of the business cooperation, the manager said.

With the approval of Taoyuan Metro Corp (桃園捷運), people would from July at the earliest be allowed to tap their credit cards at the gate to pay fares, he said.

Cathay United is one of the two major earnings generators of Cathay Financial Holding Corp (國泰金控), reporting net profit of NT$21.3 billion, up 8 percent from a year earlier. The parent company posted net profit of NT$51.8 billion, down 9 percent year-on-year, due to less contribution from its insurance unit amid the global market rout in the final quarter of last year.

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