Owners of icash cards, originally restricted for 7-Eleven use only, will now be able to use the card as an alternative method of payment at selected stores after the Financial Advisory Commission approved the icash company’s application for distribution of electronic stored-value cards on Thursday.
The icash card is the second card in the nation approved for the electronic stored value card distribution. The other card, EasyCard, is distributed by EasyCard Corp and used mainly by Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC), of which 40 percent is owned by the Taipei City Government, and the other 60 percent of shares held by public transportation business owners, banks and software system owners.
The icash company, a subsidiary Uni-President Co founded with capital of NT$300 million (US$10 million), plans for its cards to be used primarily at actual stores, the company said, adding that it would not be used for online transaction functions.
Like the EasyCard, icash cards have been approved under micropayment methods, limiting the cards to a maximum of NT$1,000 per purchase and NT$10,000 as the ceiling per recharge.
The commission said that the icash company would adhere to Uni-President’s 7-Eleven regulations and assume all responsibility for the icash card and recognize all value on the card prior to commission approval.
By July, icash had already sold 11.7 million cards, with a total amount of charged cash amounting to NT$780 million.
According to the Taipei Metro Co’s report to the Taipei City Council, EasyCard had sold about 6 million cards last year and a total of 30 million cards since its first sale.
Though the report did not reveal the total amount of cash charged onto EasyCards, from its income of NT$220 million last year and total investment capital of NT$770 million, it was earning NT$2.8 per share.
Uni-President said that cardholders would soon be able to use the card to pay for their expenses at stores, and the general expectation is that Uni-President-managed stores, such as Cosmed, Starbucks, Mister Donut, 21 Century restaurants and Muji would be among the first to accept the card as a method of payment.
In response to questions asking whether icards could be used for the MRT and Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) trains, the commission said that such things fell under commercial negotiation between icash, the TRTC and the TRA.
Meanwhile, when reached for comments, EasyCard Corp said it has always maintained good relations with Uni-President Co, adding that the company believes it can continue a healthy competition with Uni-President.
Additional reporting by Wu Liang-yi