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EasyCards upgraded

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The more than 18.2 million EasyCard holders will be able to skip cash transactions at over 10,000 retail outlets throughout Taiwan starting later this week and thus avoid dealing with change when making purchases.

The stored-value EasyCard issued by EasyCard Corporation was first used as an electronic ticket for riding on public buses and the mass rapid transport (MRT) system in the Greater Taipei area.

Beginning on Thursday, EasyCards will have the extra function of acting as electronic-wallets (e-wallets), allowing cardholders to make transactions of up to NT$1,000 per purchase, at all the shops of the four leading convenience store chains in Taiwan and the offshore islands.

The new service will also be extended to other commercial establishments like Watsons, Cosmed, Starbucks Coffee, Is Coffee, Ten Ren Tea, Wellcome and Matsusei supermarkets, Mister Donut, Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Cold Stone and some bakeries.

The total daily purchases via the e-wallets will be limited to NT$3,000 per card. The value of funds in the e-wallets can be stored at all of the shopping outlets while the maximum amount that can be stored on the cards is restricted to NT$10,000.

At a ceremony celebrating the 10th anniversary for the commencement of EasyCard yesterday, President Ma Ying-jeou ranked the issuance of EasyCard as one of his major administrative achievements during his tenure as Taipei mayor.

Ma pointed out that opinion polls have consistently showed that 96 percent of people surveyed in the capital city have expressed satisfaction with the EasyCards.

At the end of his mayoral term in late 2006, 8 million EasyCards were in circulation, Ma said,

He said the number of EasyCards used in Taiwan is presently less than the similar cards in Hong Kong, but EasyCard Corp. has demonstrated admirable efficiency by upgrading its function for shopping at more than 10,000 outlets in less than one year while it took Hong Kong eight years to sign up more than 16,000 retailing outlets.

The added financial function of the card will provide even more convenient services unrivaled in most international metropolises around the world, Ma said.

"A new era of convenient consumption will dawn with the expansion of EasyCard's use," Ma said, adding, "The smart card will go from being a 'transport service card' to a 'life card' with both cardholders and retailers enjoying the benefits."

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