Taishin International Bank (台新銀行), DBS Bank Taiwan (星展銀行) and King’s Town Bank (京城銀行) are working with social enterprise Domi Earth Co (綠然能源) to promote electronic bills, planning to use the money saved to help those in need.
Taishin Bank, the banking arm of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), has 6 million credit card clients, Taishin Bank senior vice president Cres Huang (黃天麟) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
About 1 million of them receive electronic bills, he said.
Photo: Kao Shih-ching, Taipei Times
Although some people think that only younger clients prefer electronic bills, many credit card holders in their 50s receive digital bills, as this saves them trouble recycling the papers, he said.
“Users must feel comfortable with the bank’s digital tools. Otherwise they would not be willing to change,” he said.
The bank could save NT$960,000 (US$33,761) per year if 10,000 cardholders who receive paper bills opted for digital bills, he said.
Some of the money saved due to phasing out paper bills, which cost the bank NT$8 per cardholder per month, would be allocated to a project with Domi Earth to help poor families who struggle to pay utility fees, Huang said.
The project would support them by installing energy-efficient light bulbs and home appliances, which would help them reduce fixed costs, he said.
King’s Town Bank spokesman You Qi-wei (尤其偉) said that the bank is conducting a similar project.
DBS Bank Taiwan head of digital banking Happy Ho (何益萍) said that 60 percent of the bank’s clients receive electronic bills, adding that this share would likely rise this year.
The three banks have suggested that the Financial Supervisory Commission amend financial regulations to accelerate the transition to paperless banking, the three bank representatives said.
“We must offer paper bills unless customers opt out of the service. That is not helpful for the paperless transition,” they said.
Many people have concerns about plastic straws’ impact on the environment, but carbon emissions due to banks’ bills are even higher than those of plastic straws, Domi Earth founder Tammy Hu (胡德琦) said.
About 70 million sets of paper bills are produced in Taiwan every month, Hu said, adding that they are sent from banks, telecoms, Taiwan Power Co (台電), Taiwan Water Corp (台水) and gas companies.
Over a year, that accumulates to 900 million bills, Hu said, adding that about 70 percent of credit card users receive paper bills.
“Paper bills are an environmental issue Taiwan needs to work on,” he said.
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