Visa Taiwan Announces Growing payWave Transactions, Higher Tap-to-Pay Limit
Transactions with Visa payWave cards in Taiwan grew by 19% during the third quarter with spending up by 23%, according to Visa’s country office in Taiwan.
The payment network, which announced a loosening of rules for use of contactless cards in Taiwan Monday, said consumers tapped their Visa payWave cards 3.3 million times per month during the third quarter, an increase of 19% from the same period a year earlier. Spending was NT$2.9 billion (US$100.1 million) per month during the quarter, up by 23% on average from 2011, Visa said. As of Sept. 30, Taiwanese financial institutions had 5.6 million credit cards on issue supporting the contactless payWave feature.
Consumers can tap at 13,800 stores equipped with 24,000 contactless point-of-sale terminals in Taiwan that support payWave. Most, if not nearly all, of the same terminals also support contactless cards from other major payment networks, MasterCard PayPass and J/Speedy from Japan-based JCB. But there are believed to be few J/Speedy transactions.
There are also about 30,000 separate POS terminals throughout Taiwan accepting retail payment from contactless fare-collection provider EasyCard Corp., including at major convenience store chains and such merchants as Starbucks.
Visa Taiwan said Monday that starting Jan. 1, payWave cardholders in Taiwan have been able to tap to pay for amounts over NT$3,000 (US$103.45), having only to sign for the transactions. Consumers can continue to tap for purchases below NT$3,000 without a signature.
UPDATE: MasterCard is believed to already allow purchases of over NT$3,000 with signature, though terminals that supported all three contactless brands in Taiwan applied the most restrictive rules, which was Visa's, said a source. END UPDATE.
Visa Taiwan also said banks plan to issue debit payWave for the first time in 2013. There are more than 10 million Visa-branded contact debit cards on issue in Taiwan, according to the payment network. Taiwan's payment cards follow the EMV standard.
Visa has been, in general, less active in Taiwan in promoting contactless payment than MasterCard Worldwide, especially in trialing NFC and other contactless-mobile payment.
But Visa indicated it would take a more active role in pursuing mobile payment in Taiwan. It noted in its announcement that more than 50% of Taiwanese consumers own smartphones. Conditions are ripe to build mobile payWave applications, said Visa, which added that it is working with major ecosystem players.
Taiwanese telcos and issuers are expected to begin NFC mobile-payment services this year.
Taiwan’s five mobile operators, including Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone, along with EasyCard, plan to form a joint venture to develop a uniform platform to roll out NFC services. Plans call for hiring or developing a centralized trusted service manager.
The venture has been held up by government regulators, but it is expected to gain approval later this month from the Fair Trade Commission. Among other things, the venture partners are believed to have agreed that they would keep their mobile-payment platform open to other payment issuers besides EasyCard, such as banks. Some banks had earlier been invited to join the venture.
Visa Taiwan’s new policy to allow contactless transactions above NT$3,000 with a signature could help it differentiate payWave from EasyCard, the popular stored-value transit card that is restricted by regulators to maximum transactions of NT$1,000 ($US34.53) and to a daily transaction limit of NT$3,000.