Updated 3 months ago

The official currency of Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (abbreviated as NTD, NT$, or TWD). Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 50, while bills are denominated in 100, 500, and 1,000. You may occasionally see a 200 bill, but they are rare.

Currency and Financial System

Most of Taiwan still operates on the cash system, but many higher-end restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops will accept credit cards. Grocery stores generally have deals with one specific local bank, allowing customers to only use that bank’s credit card at the store, but Carrefour and Jason’s Marketplace accept all cards. It is therefore recommended to always carry plenty of cash.

An EasyCard or iPass (IC metro cards from Taipei and Kaohsiung, respectively) can be loaded with money and used at convenience stores and a few select coffee shops such as Starbucks. You can add money (cash only) to the cards at metro stations or in convenience stores.

ATMs in Taiwan

ATMs can be found everywhere in Taipei; however, some machines charge higher fees for transactions, or won’t accept your international card. If you have a MasterCard, you will have more difficulty finding an ATM that accepts it, even though almost all ATMs claim to accept MasterCards and all the other types of bank cards. Sometimes your best bet is to get money at 7-Eleven or FamilyMart.

Some visitors claim that Taiwan Cooperative Bank does not charge an ATM fee for international card users. The average ATM fee in Taiwan is NT$100 per transaction.

For some foreign ATM cards, the daily limit is either NT$5,000 or NT$10,000 for withdrawals. In some cases, you may only withdraw NT$5,000 at a time.

Opening a Bank Account in Taiwan

There are numerous banks throughout Taiwan, and the main ones are Mega Bank, CTBC, Chang Hwa Bank (CHB), Cathay United Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, E.Sun, and Fubon. Citibank also has branches in Taiwan, but not as many as local banks. They offer the same services as local banks, and their ATMs can be found throughout Taiwan.

To open a local bank account, you must have an Alien Resident Card (ARC) and a valid passport. Americans are required to fill out additional forms to conform with FATCA standards. If you have all the documents prepared, a bank account can be opened on the same day of the application. The process usually takes about an hour.

Opening an account at a larger bank branch or in a popular expat area will increase the likelihood that the bank staff can assist customers in English.

If you are a legal resident in Taiwan, you can open a bank account anywhere. However, your employer will require a specific bank account in which to deposit your salary.

Bank transfers within Taiwan are free. You can pay rent or transfer funds from any ATM as long as you have the other party’s bank account number.

To apply for a local credit card, you will not only need the ARC and a valid passport but also a local guarantor. A credit card application can take up to a month to process. Setting up an automatic bill pay may also take up to a month.

Mobile Payments in Taiwan

Recently mobile payment apps are gaining popularity in Taiwan to make traveling easier.

Taiwan now allows Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, AliPay, and Tenpay. Shops that accept these payment methods will display signs indicating which apps they use. Even some night market vendors now accept payment via mobile apps.

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