The process of opening a bank account can be complex and time-consuming for foreigners in Taiwan. However, Taiwan is looking to welcome more and more foreign talent into their businesses. With this in mind, and your desire to integrate the Taiwanese banking system, this article will inform you of the procedures required for foreigners in Taiwan.
Even though cash is widely used in Taiwan, and new digital payment methods are emerging (EasyCard, Ipass, Line Pay); managing your day-to-day finances will remain limited. The advantages of opening a bank account are numerous. For you, the most important will be convenience and practicality : receiving your salary, paying the rent, transferring and saving money… Moreover, the bank card from your home country will be subject to certain challenges. Here are some : exchange charges by Taiwanese banks, limited cash withdrawal (generally 5,000TWD at a time), and refusal of cash withdrawals by Taiwanese businesses and ATMs (even if they stipulate that they accept MasterCards). By the way, there are no account management fees in Taiwan. So it’s well worth taking the initiative.
The time you spend at the bank can vary from 1h00 to 3h00. In some cases, you’ll also be asked a number of questions : what kind of work you do, what kind of company you work for, and what arguments you have for opening a bank account in Taiwan as a foreigner. So, use a day with free time (opening an account remotely is not possible), and prefer off-peak hours to avoid a long waiting line (most banks are open from 9am to 3.30 pm, and avoid the afternoon).
Requirements may vary between banks. We advise you to look at the documents stipulated for foreigners on their website for further information. Moreover, to help you choose the right bank for you (making your dealings easier with a Taiwanese bank as a foreigner and meeting your expectations); we invite you to read this article on PopRooms (https://pop-rooms.com/5-best-banks-for-foreigners-in-taiwan/ ). In general, here’s what you’ll need to show at the bank :
– A valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) (see article on PopRooms : https://pop-rooms.com/is-it-difficult-to-obtain-a-alien-resident-certificate/). If you don’t have either of these, you’ll need an ID number of the Republic of China, from the national Immigration Office
– A valid Passport (and it is a proof that you are over 20 years old)
– The account opening requirements (in general, 1000TWD in cash). A monthly deposit will be required to maintain a minimum balance in the bank account (such as 15 000TWD). Also, you may be charged to provide proof of regular financial income (your employment contract or other relevant bank statement)
– A Taiwanese telephone number (in some cases, it can be an evidence of a Taiwanese residence as a bill, rent or housing contract)
– A stamp with your first name in Chinese characters (approx. 80TWD from a locksmith)
– Americans must add additional papers (example : a social security number)
Once you’ve submitted the paperwork required to open a bank account, you’ll need to fill in an application form. If you don’t speak Chinese, there are several solutions : you can use photo-based translation applications (Google Lens); be accompanied by an acquaintance who speaks both languages (Chinese and yours); request the papers in English if the chosen bank offers it or ask to be assisted by a bank employee able to speak English.
If your application is accepted by the bank, you will receive your account information. Please note : it can take up to 1 month to process a credit card application (and related banking actions). You will receive an account number (this information is essential for any future contact with your bank), and a card (or cards) for the type of account you have opened (credit and/or debit card). You can also consider other options with your bank : savings account, loan, money transfer… Don’t hesitate to download your bank’s mobile application to analyze your finances. Now, all you have to do is enjoy the benefits of having a bank account in Taiwan.