Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 5 News List

EasyCard eyes growth on online payment services

By Kuo Yi and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

EasyCard accounts used in Taipei for commuting, parking and shopping are to be migrated online and followed by the introduction of third-party payment services, EasyCard Corp announced on Monday.

The proposal, which is pending approval from regulators and the Taipei City Government, would migrate accounts online to allow the use of third-party payment services, with no upper limit on account balance and a maximum transaction limit of NT$3,000, EasyCard chairman Kenneth Lin (林向愷) said.

EasyCard Corp has briefed Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on the proposal and is to file an application to create online accounts with the Financial Supervisory Commission in the middle of next month.

Online third-party payment platforms that serve users with named accounts are relatively new phenomena, enabled by the Payment Processing Institutions Act (電子支付機構管理條例), which was passed in February last year and amended in June to clearly define regulations governing the payment of electronic or online bills.

The legislation prohibits transfers from anonymous accounts to third-party payment platforms and requires users to register accounts under their legal names before they can pay bills online.

The commission has taken an active interest in fostering development of the payment platforms, which EasyCard Corp is apparently attempting to capitalize on.

While the EasyCard system has been successful in allowing payment for transportation and small purchases, its usefulness is limited, because cardholders are unable to use EasyCards to make online purchases, which is why the firm is pushing for the migration of accounts online, Lin said.

However, some academics expressed concern that the nascent third-party payment platforms market might need more regulation.

National Central University information management professor Wang Tsun-kuo (王存國) warned that the government should be prepared to intervene in the growing market to prevent the rise of monopolies.

National Chengchi University information management professor Lee Yu-jen (李有仁) called on regulators to treat entities engaged in third-party payments as financial institutions that require strict oversight and to reward institutions that keep a clean record with incentives, such as permits to engage in banking activities, to promote good behavior.

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