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EasyCard adds change top-ups as new feature

The EasyCard Corporation yesterday held a press event at the MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, releasing the new change top-up feature of the EasyCard.

With Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) in attendance, the EasyCard Corporation stated that the feature will be officially available at 62 Taipei Metro Stations as well as in 10,000 shops that are branches of the four major convenience store chains in Taiwan.

For phase-one of the program, the corporation has refitted all ticketing machines in 62 stations on the MRT's Tamsui, Xindian, Zhonghe and Wenhu Lines. A total of 120 machines are now in service, said a representative from the company, and each machine can now accept loose changes for top-ups.

During the event, Hau endorsed the new function, stating that the feature will ease the burdens of those who wish to get rid of their change.

Deputy Governor Yen Tzung-ta (嚴宗大) of the central bank who also attended the event and was quoted as saying that the new function is a great policy as it creates a beneficial situation for the general public, convenience stores, the central bank and society as a whole.

Yen also stated that the feature could prove helpful to the central bank's developing programs that encourage the circulation of coins. Due to the consumerism nature of the nation, the central bank is constantly in need of producing coins, which is damaging to the environment. As such, the bank is currently in developing various programs to encourage coin circulation so as to decrease coin production for the sake of the environment.

Citizens Criticize Convenience of Co-branded Card

In related news, following the new change top-up service which seeks further the convenience of EasyCards, a population of EasyCard co-branded card holders reflected that the co-branded cards are not any more convenient than a regular EasyCard.

The purpose of having a co-branded card, said a cardholder, is because it boasts an automatic top-up feature. However, the function can only be accessed in convenience stores and MRT stations, but not on buses and certain parking structures.

In response to the criticism, a representative of the company stated that to access the automatic top-up function on co-branded cards, an Internet connection is necessary on the machines. Certain removable card readers such as the ones on buses are not retrofitted with Internet capabilities to combat hackers who could potentially sabotage the system. As for parking garages, the company is in the process of replacing older machines so that problems of cars being stranded as a result of low balance will no longer happen.

The company is currently seeking options to overcome the technical difficulties. To show hardware improvements, EasyCards are now able to be overdrawn up to NT$60, which guarantees passengers that they will be able to get on and off a public transportation, said the representative.

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