Fri, Jan 16, 2009 - Page 2 News List

EasyCard's e-cash plan a loser: DPP councilors

RISKS While EasyCard Corp has been quick to promote its expanded card service, it has failed to push measures to protect users' rights in case of card loss, councilors said

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday warned that the use of the EasyCard as electronic cash card could be more trouble than it's worth for cardholders if there is no card loss reporting mechanism.

The EasyCard is used mainly on the MRT and other public transportation systems. Consumers' Foundation statistics show that the average amount of money lost because of users losing their EasyCards was more than NT$600 million (US$17 million) a year.

Now that Taipei EasyCard Corp is planning to expand the use of the card to major convenience stores and fast food chains, cardholders could lose more money because of a lack of a proper card loss reporting mechanism, the councilors said yesterday.

“Most cardholders will put more money on their card and they will risk losing more money if they lose their card. [Taipei EasyCard Corp] chairman Sean Lien (連勝文) only sees the business opportunity and ignores cardholders' rights,” DPP Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) told a press conference held at the Taipei City Council.

The legislature's passage of the Act on Issuance and Management of Electronic Monetary Cards (電子票證發行管理條例) on Tuesday allowed the company to expand the use of the EasyCard. The company announced that cardholders would be able to use the cards at major convenience stores, fast food chains, coffee shops, gas stations and bakeries as early as June. Cardholders will be able to put as much as NT$9,999 on their EasyCard.

The number of EasyCards in circulation has exceeded 15 million, but less than 1 percent of cardholders have applied to the company to register their cards in case of theft, Wu said.

Wu and DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) lashed out at the company for discouraging cardholders to take advantage of the name registration service by providing the service only at MRT Taipei Main Station.

Wu and Lee urged the company to establish a more convenient card loss reporting mechanism.

In response, Charlene Wang (王嘉陵), public relations deputy manager at the company, said the company would provide a card registration service at more MRT stations in the near future.

Cardholders who do not register their cards are not guaranteed their money back if they lose their cards. Registering their cards allows cardholders to report any loss and receive a new card with the original value restored at a price of NT$150, she said.

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