Internet Banking in Taiwan

By greenteapanda

July 16, 2009

Category: Living

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After having lived in Korea, and having had positive experiences with online banking in mainland China, I’d expect that Taiwan would have some decent online banking options.

It doesn’t.

I am in my third week of attempting to set up a bank account that I can remit money overseas online and that I could use to buy things online. I have wanted to buy a MacBook Pro with a matte screen, and I can only do that as a custom online order here. Apple requires the use of a Taiwanese credit card to complete the order.

I have asked every bank I have walked by about an account that satisfies these two conditions, and only E. SUN Bank (玉山銀行) and Bank of Taiwan (臺灣銀行) said it was possible. E.SUN Bank later decided it was not possible, because I had too little time left on my ARC card. Hence, I attempted to open an account at the Bank of Taiwan.

Once I got the ATM card, it turned out to have a non usable number for buying things online (it is not like a debit card). It does have a chip, but Bank of Taiwan did not provide a reader to actually use it with my computer. The foreign transaction functions require the use of a card reader, making the website useless for doing anything other than viewing the amount of money in my account.

The staffs in Bank of Taiwan said I still could do a Telegraphic Transfer (TT) online. However, it is not possible without the card reader. Furthermore, if I wanted to go to the hassle of doing a TT every time I wanted to buy something, I would not need an account at all. I would just go into the bank, fill out a form, and have them do it for me. Which is what it appears I will have to do anyway.

To add to the irritation, the Bank of Taiwan website only works on Internet Explorer on Windows and requires Flash. I could not login with a more secure browser like Firefox, Opera, or Safari to open my account. The website uses some strange terms to describe basic functions. Logging in includes typing in my ARC number (ID), so any identity thief could steal my information while I am able to do nothing productive by doing things with their online system.

The final insult was upon receiving the ATM card, I also got a free gift. Two tubes of toothpaste. I am not sure of the implications of this in the culture here (I know giving clocks and shoes are bad), but it seems to be making an insult regarding the breath quality of their customers.

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