Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan Pay a critical part of industry: central bank

COMMON STANDARD:The central bank said that the low-cost platform benefits small retailers and has seen a significant increase in transactions, as well as adoption

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The central bank yesterday defended government-backed mobile payment service Taiwan Pay, saying that the quick response code-based platform has helped expand and facilitate mobile payments since its launch two years ago.

Taiwan Pay, spearheaded by Financial Information Service Co (FISC, 財金公司) in October 2017, has served its purpose in providing financial infrastructure that allows stores and consumers to transfer funds easily and quickly, the bank said in a statement.

The bank’s support came after lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the need for Taiwan Pay, given its parlous market share, and threatened to axe related budgets for next year.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁) said that Taiwan Pay has served as an unlicensed payment app when its functions should be limited to those of an automated teller machine.

Taiwan Pay has a market share of less than 5 percent with support from 83,200 stores, far behind Line Pay’s 140,000 partners and JKo Pay’s (街口支付) 90,000 partners, Hsu said.

Hsu called the showing disappointing in light of the government’s goal to boost the electronic payment penetration rate to 90 percent by 2025.

He suggested that Taiwan Pay exit the market and save taxpayers NT$67.5 million (US$2.2 million) in promotional budget for next year, up to NT$1 million per deal.

“The government can put an end to its intervention, as Taiwan Pay pales in comparison with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay,” Hsu said.

The central bank disagreed, saying that the incompatibility of the various foreign payment services has limited their growth and prevalence, although they have attracted huge numbers of users.

FISC has played the role of a neutral developer of Taiwan Pay that makes data transmission and account settlements accessible and convenient for stores, organizations and consumers, the bank said.

A common standard is important for the development of the nation’s own payment services due to its small and fragmented market, it said.

The platform has required low operational and payment costs and benefited small retailers as part of the nation’s efforts to grow financial technology, it added.

As of last month, 30 local banks accept Taiwan Pay and six more are to come on board, FISC said in a separate statement.

In the first nine months of this year, transactions via Taiwan Pay totaled NT$52 billion, a threefold increase from the same period last year, it said.

Meanwhile, the number of stores that accept Taiwan Pay has soared to 90,000, proving that the platform has gained popularity, it added.

“The question is how to improve Taiwan Pay, not whether to ditch it,” FISC said.

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