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June 27, 2017

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Expatriates call for lowering of credit card application threshold

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Foreigners are urging Taiwan's bank operators to lower the threshold for them to open new credit card accounts, according to the Central News Agency.

Benoit Girardot, a manager working at a medical equipment company in Taiwan, said that living in Taiwan is very convenient, but local bank operators have set too many restrictions against non-Taiwanese citizens with regard to financial services.

Bank operators do not provide services for expats who wish to conduct Internet transfers, Girardot said, adding that foreigners are also not allowed to withdraw money while overseas with their locally issued debit cards.

Kimba Vetten, who came to the island in 1999, also commented on the issue of credit card applications in Taiwan.

Vetten said that the bank had asked her to pay NT$15,000 as a deposit, but that she only got a limit of NT$10,000 on her credit card.

Since 2007, bank operators have reportedly been allowed to come up with their own regulations with regard to foreigners applying new cards.

Certain bank operators, for example, require co-signers in the application process, while further limiting credit card usage for non-Taiwanese citizens.

Inada Mutsuko, a Japanese citizen who has been residing in Taiwan for six years, said that the thresholds for foreigners applying for Internet services and cellphone numbers are also too high.

"Even if foreigners have Alien Resident Certificates (ARC), they still have to pay a deposit or find a co-signer (in order to) apply for a cellphone number," Mutsuko said.

A major telecommunications firm explained that some cellphone data plans are not pre-paid; therefore, many operators tend to worry about whether they are able to receive payments from foreigners if they should leave the country. As a result, operators usually set higher thresholds for foreign applicants.

An American-born Chinese reporter, Yang Lin (楊霖), said that the process of applying for work in Taiwan is more complicated than that of Singapore or Hong Kong.

Yang said that he only needed a resident certificate in order to work in Singapore. In Taiwan, however, he had to apply for a work certificate and an ARC.

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has launched an Employment PASS card for foreign professionals, which is reportedly a combination of the Resident Visa, Work Permit, Alien Resident Certificate and Multi-Entry Permit.

The NIA, however, also said that there have only been over 300 people who have used the card.

The agency added that is considering to set up a website in the near future for foreigners to apply for the card online.

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