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NT$600 mil. lost yearly in missing EasyCards

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei City councilors yesterday demanded that stronger measures be taken to promote the use of name registration services for EasyCards in order to protect consumers' rights, local media reported yesterday.

According to Consumers' Foundation estimates, about NT$600 million is lost every year in EasyCards that go missing.

Operated by the Taipei Smart Card Corporation (TSCC), EasyCards are contactless smartcards for use on the mass rapid transit system and on buses and other public transport services.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilor Wu Si-yao said that in order to protect consumers' rights, more promotional activities should be held to make the public aware of services that allow for the registration of EasyCards to people's names so that these may be returned to their rightful owners if they are lost.

Of the some 15.2 million EasyCards that have been issued to the public so far, only 2,337 people have automatically applied for registration of the cards. This represents a mere 0.017 percent of all the EasyCards issued, Wu said.

The councilor said that she had already asked to EasyCard Corp., issuer of the cards, to strengthen promotion of the registration service four months ago but nothing has been done so far.

Wu added that Lien Sheng-wen, chairman of EasyCard Corp., has only cared about politics and making money while neglecting consumers' rights since he assumed his post.

An EasyCard Corp. representative Wang Chia-ling said that the company provides detailed information regarding usage of the cards at every Taipei Metro station and at EasyCard value-adding points.

The stored-value EasyCards will soon be expanded to include more services that will increase the convenience of cardholders, said Wang. The spokesperson encouraged the public to take advantage of the name registration service, which protects consumers by refunding the value in the EasyCard if the holder reports it lost.

The councilor said that so far registration services are only offered at the Taipei Main Station of all the 70 metropolitan rapid transit (MRT) stations in Taipei City. Wu said this was a clear indication that the city did not encourage this type of service.

The Legislative Yuan recently passed a bill that liberalizes the usage of the cards for electronic payment. It allows financial transactions across business lines and expands the cards into an electronic wallet for shopping at convenience stores.

Currently confined to the greater Taipei area, EasyCard holders will soon be able to use them in all other parts of Taiwan and on offshore islands. The functions of the cards for the bus and mass rapid transport system in Kaohsiung will be expanded in the same fashion.

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