The Taiwanese economy is among the largest in the world and is underpinned by a reliable and efficient banking system.
Once new arrivals have the appropriate documentation, opening a bank account is easy. Taiwan is traditionally a cash-based society, and ATMs are plentiful and can be found throughout the country. That said, the card payment market is growing.
One card payment method that has burgeoned in popularity is the EasyCard, a contactless smart card used for public transport and other services, such as parking, bike rental and convenience stores. It was launched in 2002 and has since become a popular and convenient way for locals and expats to travel around Taiwan. EasyCards can be purchased at any MRT station, convenience stores and EasyCard service centres located in major cities. Payments can be made at the entrance of MRT stations and on buses, and the card can be used to pay for parking and small purchases. It also offers discounts on some transport services, such as the YouBike bike rental system, and some tourist attractions.
Money in Taiwan
The currency used in Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD), which is subdivided into 100 cents. In common usage, Taiwanese money is often referred to as kuài or yuán, although this is not to be confused with the Mainland Chinese Yuán.
Notes: 100 NTD, 200 NTD, 500 NTD, 1,000 NTD and 2,000 NTD
Coins: 1 NTD, 5 NTD, 10 NTD, 20NTD, 50NTD
Banking in Taiwan
Taiwan has a sophisticated banking system, and expats have a wide variety of options when it comes to managing their finances.
Internet banking is available, although some banks don't have English versions of their websites. Banking hours can vary, but are generally from 9am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. Some banks are open from 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.
Opening a bank account
Local banks that are popular with expats include CTBC Bank, Bank of Taiwan and Taichung Bank. Alternatively, expats can open an account at a local branch of a foreign bank such as HSBC, Barclays, Citibank or Standard Chartered.
While many new arrivals use foreign banks in Taiwan, this may not always be possible, as some employers insist on paying salaries directly into a Taiwanese bank account.
To open a bank account in Taiwan, expats will need an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC). Other documents that may be required include a passport or other proof of identity, and proof of residence. A minimum deposit is also required when opening an account.
ATMs and credit cards
ATMs are widely available, and they operate on a 24-hour basis. While some ATMs only accept Taiwanese cards, foreign credit or debit cards can usually be used to withdraw cash in Taiwan, but will incur charges. Even using a local card at an ATM operated by a different bank than one's own will incur charges. ATMs in Taiwan offer English menus and facilities for transferring money and paying bills.
Credit cards are accepted by hotels and large retail outlets, but less so in smaller establishments. It's common practice in Taiwan to use cash whenever possible.
Taxes in Taiwan
Expats staying in Taiwan will be subject to a withholding tax of 18 percent on their personal income for the first 183 days of their stay. Thereafter, both their income derived in Taiwan and their worldwide income will be taxed according to a progressive scale of between 5 and 40 percent.