NFC mobile payments come to Taiwan

A technology trial in Taiwan is pointing the way towards the country's NFC future

As contactless payment technology continues to gain traction around the world, there are individual races going on in many countries to be the first to bring a mobile payment solution to market. In Taiwan, the current race leader is Chungwa Telecom (CHT), the country’s largest mobile network operator.

CHT’s 10 million subscribers will soon be able to use their mobile phone to make contactless payments at more than 20,000 MasterCard PayPass point-of-sale readers across Taiwan, at locations ranging from supermarkets and department stores to taxis. The pilot scheme will also support additional NFC services such as multiple credit and prepaid cards, loyalty cards, coupons, and ticketing.

Taiwan is a high-tech hub (information and communications technology accounts for a third of its GDP), so CHT’s achievement is all the more notable. Its NFC payment program, which has been approved by the Financial Supervisory Commission of Taiwan, is being trialed in conjunction with four of Taiwan’s leading banks – Cathay United, Chinatrust Commercial, E.Sun and Taishin – as well as handset manufacturers HTC, Samsung and Sony.

There have been previous contactless pilot schemes in Taiwan, but this is the first to be approved by the government, and the first to use the SIM as the secure element to safeguard mobile NFC transactions.

“It is part of our strategy to ‘seed the market’ by equipping all of our subscribers with the NFC SIM so we are ready for mass deployment of mobile contactless services,” explains Joseph Kuo, Director of Value Added Services at CHT.

As one of the four booming economies known as the ‘Asian Tigers’ (along with Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea), Taiwan is perfectly placed to take full advantage of convenient, secure contactless payment solutions. Indeed, NFC Times reports that six companies (including CHT) have formed a joint venture to launch a mobile wallet product in Taiwan in 2014. But for now, CHT is blazing a trail on its own.

First published on August 28, 2013
Last edited on October 25, 2013
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