Taipei EasyCard Guide: Taiwan’s Smart Card

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Whether you want to save money or have disposable income, you’ll need an EasyCard during your time in Taiwan.

EasyCards come with many benefits that’ll save you time and from having to carry extra cash. That’s why you should learn more about these cards.

Summary:

An EasyCard is a contactless smart card that allows you to pay for public transportation and goods from shops throughout Taiwan. They’ll make your life a lot easier while you’re here, so they’re one of the best and most inexpensive purchases you can make in Taiwan.

Throughout this guide, I’ll cover the basics of an EasyCard, the smart card’s competitors, where to purchase a Taipei EasyCard, where you can use the card, and some commonly asked questions.

What Is an EasyCard in Taiwan? #

EasyCard, or yoyo card, used to be the Taipei Smart Card. It translates to 悠遊卡 (Yōuyóu kǎ), is a contactless security smart card developed and maintained by EasyCard Corporation. You may purchase it at any Metro station or chain store.

Since 1 April 2010, use has been expanded for convenience stores, department stores, supermarkets, taxis, and other retailers.

Like traditional electronic fare, the card uses RFID technology to work without physical contact.

You can find Taipei Smart Card designs in various shapes and sizes. For instance, you can carry an official Pokeball EasyCard or chicken wing smart card that functions like normal. However, these unique cards usually cost more.

The Taipei EasyCard costs NT$100 ($3.60) and come with a balance of zero. You can fill the balances from various mediums that I’ll cover in this article.

Also, the maximum amount that you can put on an EasyCard is NT$10000 ($359).

Are you worried about your yo yo card failing you?

Fortunately, each card has a one-year warranty. If the card fails you for any reason, you can exchange it for free.

Finally, a detail that you should keep in mind is that you don’t have to register your Taipei Smart Card. However, if you don’t, you won’t receive any reimbursement or protection if someone steals your IC card or if you lose it.

Differences Between EasyCard and Other Smart Cards

Taiwan has quite a few Integrated Circuit (IC) cards. You’ll want to know the differences to avoid confusion. Throughout this portion, I’ll cover information about each card and how it differs from the EasyCard.

The most significant differences between these cards lie in using them and rewards programs that offer discounts when using these smart cards.

Taipei EasyCard vs. iPASS

The other primary smart card in Taiwan. iPASS works the same as the EasyCard. It started as being exclusive to Kaohsiung; however, it became adopted as a payment method throughout the country.

However, if you will primarily stay in Kaohsiung, you may want to stick with only purchasing an iPASS card. Conversely, I recommend getting at least one of each if specific tour busses only accept one over the other. Moreover, having one of each card gives you more flexibility when moving throughout the country.

EasyCard vs. Fun Pass

The Fun Pass targets tourists looking for a stellar deal rather than an explorer. Anyway, you can purchase the Fun Pass in one-two-, or three-day passes. These passes shave a large amount from ticket fees that would otherwise pay to enter 16 different tourist destinations.

Moreover, you have unlimited access to Taipei’s busses and metro during the duration of these cards.

To enter Taiwan’s public transportation, you use these cards like a typical IC card—slap it on the scanner and watch the gates open before you.

icash and EasyCard Differences

Unlike iPASS or EasyCards, you can only purchase icash at 7-11. However, you can top up their balance at the same places as other IC cards. However, these cards don’t appear to offer many benefits over their competitors.

Conversely, if you have integrated yourself within Taiwan’s reward systems, icash may offer benefits through their apps.

You can use icash cards in busses and the MRT throughout the Taipei and New Taipei areas. Moreover, you can use them for Kaohsiung’s rapid transit.

Difference Between EasyCard and HappyCash

HappyCash is another popular smart card you’ll find in Taiwan. If you use it at stores, you’ll accumulate or earn rewards with your purchases. Moreover, you can use these cards at any metro station for parking and convenience stores.

Some stores you can use HappyCash at include:

  • SOGO malls
  • BigCity shopping centers
  • Far Eastern Telecom
  • a.mart supermarket

However, if you want to buy a HappyCash card, you’ll find them at most chain stores in Taiwan other than 7-11. 

Where Can I Purchase an EasyCard? #

taiwan easycard vending machine
A vending machine for a Taipei EasyCard that you can find in Taiwan MRT stations.

Thankfully, these cards are simple to find. If you’re coming to Taiwan on a student visa, the school will provide your Student EasyCard. Otherwise, you can buy a Taipei Smart Card from many locations—some include:

  • Any convenience store
  • Airports: Songshan and Taoyuan
  • Taipei, Taoyuan, and Kaohsiung Metro stations
  • EasyCard Corporation customer service centers
  • eCommerce storefronts: Shopee, PC Home, and Facebook—these sites may only sell limited edition and expensive yo yo cards

If you want a Taipei EasyCard waiting for you at the airport, follow my link and purchase an EasyCard before you fly.

How Do I Use an EasyCard? #

IC card sensor zone in a taipei metro station

Since EasyCards use Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, hover your card above an IC card sensor and wait until you get a confirmation notice. These notices include the following:

  • Balance display
  • A green light with a beep
  • Staff notifying you your card was successful
  • Gates at public transportations opening

To know if you’re tapping a smart card sensor, either pay attention to what surface others use to pay with their smart card. Or search for a surface with the text “IC card.” Moreover, if you’re at a convenience store, look for a surface with various cards’ logos. Usually, the cashier will guide you to where you’re supposed to tap your card.

Act confused, and the staff will guide you to the sensor. However, you’ll want to show the employee your Taipei EasyCard to notify them that it’s your payment method.

How To Top Up an EasyCard #

machine in taipei mrt station to refill funds on easycard

Topping up your TaipeiEasyCard is easy, just use these machines. You can find them in any metro station.

You can take a couple of routes—avoid people or use body language to tell the staff what you want. But, first, you can avoid people and refill your cards by using touchscreen kiosks at any metro station.

However, if you’re not an introvert, you can take your card to any convenience store to refill it. If the staff first speaks English to you, you’ll be able to carry out the transaction in English. If they don’t approach you in English, you can hand them your card and the cash you want to fill it with or use Google Translate.

When they see the cash and card, they’ll understand that you want to fill your Taipei EasyCard.

You can also fill your card at service centers in MRT stations. Usually, the staff speaks English; however, I recommend using the kiosks unless you have an issue. That way, the staff can tend to people who need troubleshooting.

4 Types of EasyCards #

For the most part, you’ll find people using an Adult EasyCard. However, if you fall under a particular category, you’ll find yourself eligible for different types of EasyCards that offer more perks than the original.

One of many standard perks that these categories of cards share is the Frequent Passenger Program.

The program applies to all IC cards. 

Moreover, at the end of each month, Taipei MRT passengers receive a ticket rebate between 10–30% during the following month. The company does this automatically, so you don’t have to worry about talking to anyone.

However, this benefit mainly applies to citizens and foreigners intending to stay for over a month.

Throughout this section, I’ll go over the different types of yo yo cards and who’s eligible to use them.

Adult

Whenever you purchase an EasyCard, you’ll receive an Adult Card, or 普通卡 (Pǔtōng kǎ). They don’t have any special features, and you can find them for sale at any establishment that sells IC cards.

For instance, if you purchase a themed Taipei EasyCard, like the Pokeball EasyCard, it’ll be an Adult EasyCard.

Student

You will receive this card from your education facility if the Ministry of Education recognizes you as a student. First off, a Student EasyCard, 學生卡 (Xuéshēng kǎ), will serve as your identification to check into class. Moreover, you can use this category of IC cards to enter university libraries and cafeterias.

When you first receive this card, you will receive a NT$4, NT$6, and NT$8 transfer discount for 20 days when riding New Taipei, Taipei, and Keelung city bus systems.

Also, Taipei’s Rapid Transit website states that student cards will receive a NT$4 ($.14) discount when taking the Danhai Light Rail Transit (LRT).

Co-branded Credit Cards or Debit Card

If you’re a part of a bank in Taiwan, you can receive a debit or credit card branded with Smart Pay, JCB, MasterCard, or Visa that doubles as a Taipei EasyCard. The benefit from this card stems from the ability to automatically top-up your EasyCard’s balance in increments of NT$500 ($18).

You won’t find this card useful if you’re a tourist; however, if you’re arriving in Taiwan with the intent of staying, you’ll want to consider a co-branded EasyCard if you can get a bank account.

Also read: How to move to Taiwan

Concessionaire

If you’re disabled, a senior over 65 years old, or purchasing for a child; you’re eligible to receive a concessionaire card, which translates to 優待卡 (Yōudài kǎ). When holding this card, you receive the same bus transfer discounts as those who have Student EasyCards.

Where Can I Use EasyCards? #

You’ll find that a good portion of services and retail establishments accept EasyCards as payment. However, if you want to save yourself from awkward encounters and having to rummage your pocket or bags for cash.

Taipei MRTParkingTaxisSpecific retailers
Convenience storesMost city bus systemsKaohsiung MetroFerries
Library cardsYouBike bike sharingTaoyuan MetroDigital IDs
Taiwan High Speed RailTaiwan RailwaySome hospitalsVending machines
Gas stationsAmusement parksSports centersVenue tickets
Tourist attractionsSelf-service package lockersLaundromatsPhone recharging stations
This table shows where you can use Taiwan’s EasyCard.

Related: Popular Taipei tourist destinations

Taiwan Railway

You can use this cool smart card to pay for tickets for Taiwan Railway and Taiwan High-Speed Rail. Keep in mind that uses don’t include group train tickets or tour trains. Also, according to EasyCard’s official website, you can benefit from a 10% discount on train tickets that travel distances under 70 km (43 miles) when using their card as a payment method.

EasyCard can be used for all train services except tour trains, group trains, Taroko Express, Puyuma Express and other TRA designated trains (special and reserve seat services). EasyCard users enjoy a 10% discount on fares for traveling distance under 70 km.

https://www.easycard.com.tw/en/use?cls=1506497567&id=1508204269#:~:text=Scope%20of%20EasyCard%20Use&text=*EasyCard%20can%20be%20used%20for,traveling%20distance%20under%2070%20km.

Taking Taiwan’s THSR? Save time and a potentially awkward conversation with a ticket attendant. Follow this link and book online.

Taxis

If you don’t want to take an Uber, you can hail a taxi and pay for your ride using a Taipei EasyCard. However, you must ensure that you have the correct balance before doing so.

Certain Retailers

You can use EasyCards to purchase goods from over 10000 retailers throughout the island country. So whether you’re shopping from a hypermarket like Carrefour, a supermarket like Jasons, or a convenience store like 7-11 or family mart, you can use your IC card at these locations.

Moreover, you can use your smart card at shopping centers and popular quick-service restaurants like Starbucks and KFC.

Before purchasing, ensure you check whether the shop you’re at accepts yo yo cards as payment. Doing so will save you from having to dig through your pockets for change.

Buses

Bus services accept Taipei Smart Cards in Tainan, Keelung, Taipei, Taichung, Matsu, and New Taipei. Moreover, you can use these IC cards to pay for any city bus throughout Yilan County.

MRT Stations

Instead of wasting time purchasing tokens in the metro, you can tap your yo yo card against the sensor, let it subtract the value, pass the gate, and reach your cart. When activating your card against the sensor, a screen will display your remaining value.

Also, you can refill your card’s balance at any MRT station.

You can use an EasyCard as a ticket to the following city’s metro stations throughout Taiwan:

  • Taipei
  • Kaohsiung
  • Taichung
  • Taoyuan

Parking

You can use a Taipei Smart Card to park your car at Lyparking, Youparking, Total Parking Service, Dodohome, Taiwan International Development Co., and Taipei City Parking Management and Development branded lots.

These applications may change at any time, so check a parking garage you’re interested in to see whether they accept IC cards as payment.

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in Taiwan: Is It Worth It?

YouBike

YouBike, or uBike, is a bike-sharing system throughout Taiwan. It has 1.0 and 2.0 variations; both accept only IC cards as payment. However, to use YouBikes, you’ll need to register your card online with a phone number.

Other EasyCard Uses

claw machine in taiwan

Other than using this integrated circuit card for transportation and payment at retail establishments, you can use the EasyCard for:

  • Ferries: Taipei Blue highway
  • Admission into tourist destinations: Taipei Zoo, Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, Lihpao Resort, National Taiwan Museum, Yehliu, and more
  • Library cards: allow you to borrow media from Yilan or Taipei Public Libraries.
  • Digital ID: for instance, a Student EasyCard doubles as a campus identification card
  • Hospitals: providers like Taipei City Hospital will accept smart cards

Fortunately, there are various places where you can use an smart card for admission. Gyms, religious sites, movie theaters, gas stations, public services, restaurants, and more. You can find an EasyCard acceptance list here.

I don’t know how often this corporation updates its website, so you may want to consider checking the attraction or establishment that you’re traveling to ahead of time to ensure they accept yo yo cards.

FAQ: Taipei EasyCard

You may find that this smart card doesn’t have too much information available. That’s why I compiled the most commonly asked questions around the topic of this IC card.

Save yourself from having to scour the internet and from any conflicting information.

How To Check EasyCard Balance Taiwan

The easiest way to perform an EasyCard balance check is to use ticket kiosks at metro centers. Moreover, adjacent to every MRT service counter, you’ll see an EasyCard reader that displays your balance and transit history.

However, if that’s not convenient, you can download an app like EasyWallet to check your balance anywhere. While the app is only in Chinese, it’s simple to navigate. All you need is a nickname for your card and your card’s number, which you can find on the lower portion of your EasyCard.

If you don’t want to search for your card’s number, you can enable near-field communication (NFC), tap your card against your phone, and the EasyWallet app will register your card. However, EasyWallet doesn’t update your card’s balance until the next day.

Also, you can take your smart card to a convenience store and ask the staff to check your balance.

Usually, when you enter a bus or MRT station, your balance will display on the screen. So, you should remember that number.

Can I use EasyCard in Kaohsiung?

You can use an EasyCard at any retailer in Kaohsiung that accepts the card. Moreover, you can use this integrated circuit card on Kaohsiung’s metro’s Orange and Red lines.

How Do I Register My EasyCard?

You can only register your EasyCard if you’re a foreign resident with an ARC (Alien Resident Certificate) or APRC (Alien Permanent Resident Certificate) number. Anyway, you can proceed with the yoyo card registration process through EasyCard’s website by providing the required documents.

Does EasyCard Expire?

EasyCard, like every other IC card, does not have an expiration date unless you use a Student card. Therefore, your funds will remain on the card until you either refund it or spend all your money.

What Do I Do With Unused Funds on an EasyCard

If you’re getting ready to leave, you can take your EasyCard to an MRT station information counter and pay a NT$20 ($.72) fee to refund up to NT$3000 (a little over $100) of unused funds from your card.

Conversely, you can save NT$20 and empty the rest of your card’s value at a retailer. Then, once you clear through your EasyCard’s balance during your transaction, you can use cash to pay off the rest of the balance.

Final Thoughts on the Taipei EasyCard

The Taipei EasyCard has many uses and can save you from having to lug coins and banknotes throughout the country. Moreover, many retailers and public transportation mediums will accept this card as a form of payment.

Due to the card’s convenience, there’s no reason not to buy the Taipei Smart Card when you’re in Taiwan.

Also, if you’re a student, coming to Taiwan for business, or are employed, your employer or university will provide you with an EasyCard. Otherwise, if you arrive on a different visa or visa-exemption, you can find this card at convenience stores and airports.

If you want to save time at the airport, you can purchase an EasyCard through Voyagin and pick up the IC card once you arrive in Taiwan.

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