Taiwanese consumers have rapidly adopted mobile payments after it was introduced in the nation in 2016, with mobile payment skyrocketing to NT$47.8 billion (US$1.55 billion) last year, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Tuesday.
That is more than three times the NT$14.8 billion recorded a year earlier, commission data showed.
In the first two months of this year, mobile payment transactions surged to NT$12.8 billion from NT$5.1 billion during the same period last year, the data showed.
“It seems that local consumers are getting increasingly used to the new payment methods, such as tapping their smartphones on a contactless billing machine, or scanning the QR code to pay [for purchases],” Banking Bureau Chief Secretary Phil Tong (童政彰) told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday.
Tong attributed the sharp growth to consumers preferring mobile payments over credit cards, a solid 4G Internet infrastructure and the fast-growing number of billing machines.
Taiwanese consumers had been big users of credit cards before the arrival of mobile payments, with credit card transanctions continuing to advance after surpassing the NT$2 trillion mark in 2014, Tong said.
Mobile payments are giving consumers a new alternative.
“[Consumers] are willing to load their plastic cards into their mobiles, so they do not need to carry a heavy wallet full of cards,” Tong said.
One-third of the nation’s point of sale (POS) machines are contactless, enabling merchants to accept mobile payments, Tong said.
Small vendors that do not have POS machines can provide QR codes for consumers to scan and pay, Tong said.
Although mobile payments still make up a comparatively small part of non-cash payments, which totaled NT$3 trillion last year, they are expected to continue growing this year, Tong said.
As more credit cards issued by local banks can be connected to digital wallets, mobile credit card payments last year rose 166 percent year-on-year to NT$27.52 billion, accounting for 57 percent of all mobile payments, the data showed.
Although credit cards continued to be the most favored tool for mobile payment, consumers have begun embracing debit cards, electronic value cards, such as EasyCards, and electronic payments to load into their digital wallets, it said.
While the most popular foreign mobile payment services, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, have formed cooperations with major credit cards, the locally developed Taiwan Pay has formed partnerships with debit cards, boosting the amount of mobile debit card payment from NT$380 million in 2017 to NT$8.15 billion last year, Tong said.
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