|Currency||New Taiwan dollar (NT$10,000 maximum load)|
|Stored-value||Pay as you go|
|Credit expiry||None (must reactivate after 2 years of inactivity)|
Obverse side of a standard adult EasyCard]
The EasyCard is a contactless smartcard system operated by the EasyCard Corporation, which was previously named the "Taipei Smart Card Corporation", for payment on the Taipei Metro (also known as "Taipei MRT", or "Taipei Rapid Transit System"), buses, and other public transport services in Taipei since June 2002, expanded to multiple place of business. Its use has also since been expanded to include convenience stores, department stores, supermarkets, taxis, and other retailers since 1 April 2010. Like conventional electronic fare systems, the card employs RFID technology to operate without physical contact. They are available for purchase at all Metro stations and all chain convenience stores.
The Taipei Smart Card Corporation was established in 2000 with a total capitalization of NT$500 million. Shareholders include the Taipei City Government, the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation, banks, bus companies, and other companies. Promotional trials of the card began in 2001, and the card was officially released in 2002. In 2008, the company changed its name to the EasyCard Corporation to increase branding and visibility.
By 2009, the company had issued over 18 million cards (over 20 million if co-branded cards are included). EasyCard transactions now account for 91% of Taipei Metro system transactions, 92% of bus transactions, and 71% of parking lot transactions. Daily transactions reached 3.1 million in 2009.
The name EasyCard was chosen in a contest where the general public was asked to propose names. In Mandarin Chinese the card is known as 悠遊卡 (Pinyin: Yōu-yóu Kǎ), which literally means Easy Travel Card. The logo, designed by Y&P Design Group, is composed of four different colored logos radiating outward, each representing something different: technology and unhindered travel, sustainable development, commitment, and efficiency. In 2003, the EasyCard logo won the 20th American Corporate Identity Award of Excellence.
Users of the card on the Taipei Metro are required to pass the card over the EasyCard sensor area on fare gates both entering and exiting the stations; the first pass registers the start of the journey and the second as the end. Fares deducted from the card depend on the distance traveled and whether a public bus was used within a transfer time frame that is currently set to one hour. Fares on the Taipei Metro are based on distance, with a 20% discount over single journey tokens.
The pass can also be used for the Maokong Gondola without any discounts.
Users of the card can use the card on the Red and Orange Lines of the Kaohsiung Metro, but not the light rail. Fares deducted from the card depend on the distance traveled and a 15% discount over single journey tokens, which is the same as iPASS.
The value of the card cannot be added at the add value machine in any station of Kaohsiung Metro.
Taiwan Railway Administration
All passenger trains allow payment with the EasyCard with a 10% discount, except Taroko Express, Puyuma Express, group trains, tourism trains, and specified operating trains.
When paying bus fare, the EasyCard machine prevents repeated transactions on the same card until the bus travels into the next paying section. The bus driver can reset this mechanism so passengers are able to swipe multiple times to pay for others. Transfers between the Metro and bus systems offer half-fare discounts which are automatically taken when the card is scanned.
In Taichung, users can enjoy an 8-kilometer free ride.
A trial allowing the payment of taxi fares with the card was carried out in 2005 but this payment option was not then implemented on a wider level for taxi journeys.
EasyCards are accepted in government-run parking lots and some privately run parking lots. Parking meters accept Easy Cards exclusively, charged in quarter-hour increments, and expire in due time like a normal meter.
In addition to being usable on the Taipei Metro and buses, the EasyCard is also accepted at public garages adjacent to Metro stations and in other areas of Taipei. As of 2008, the EasyCard can be used to pay for boat rides in areas such as Tamsui.
As of 1 April 2010, EasyCards can now be used to pay for purchases at some stores including 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Cosmed, OK Mart, Hi-Life, Starbucks, and Pacific SOGO. The EasyCard can now be used at over 10,000 retail outlets throughout Taiwan. In 2011, card usage is expected to be expanded to gas stations and fast food chains.
In addition to payment, the EasyCard has also been used as a multifunctional card. At the 2010 World Model UN Conference held in Taipei, the card served as a ticket, meal coupon, and identification card (in addition to its regular uses). Limited edition cards have also been sold to raise money for charity.
Other areas of use
In addition to paying for public transit, parking, and select retailers, the EasyCard can also be used for:
- Most buses in multiple areas in Taiwan
- Ferries (Taipei Blue highway).
- Admission into the Taipei Zoo, and a some museums, festival activities and recreational areas.
- Library cards, allowing the user to borrow materials from Taipei or Yilan Public Libraries.
- Digital IDs, including Student ID Cards.
- YouBike bicycle sharing system. (Registration with the U Bike system with registered mobile telephone is required)
Payment and recharge
EasyCards can be used for purchases of up to NT$1,000 at available stores once, up to a maximum of NT$3,000 per day. This limit does not apply to payment of government fees, public service charges, medical costs, transport services (including recreational services like the Maokong Gondola or bicycle rental), miscellaneous school expenses, and parking fees. Value can be recharge in multiples of NT$100 and each card can hold up to NT$10,000 of value.
For consumer safety, all money from EasyCard deposits are held in the EasyCard Prepaid Trust Fund managed by Cathay United Bank. All deposits are protected by a full refund guarantee issued by First Bank.
If a card has not been used for over two years, a recharge must be made before the card will be reactivated. The balance on a card can be checked on the scanner unit whenever a transaction is made or using an EasyCard Reader located at all Taipei Metro stations.
Types of cards
- Adult: These standard fare cards cost NT$500, inclusive of a NT$400 balance and NT$100 deposit. Purchase and add-value are available at all Taipei Metro stations, bus stations, and most convenience stores. The card can be credited to a maximum of balance of NT$10,000. Unused fees and the deposit are refundable.
- Student: These cards costs the same amount (NT$500), but can only be purchased from station staff with appropriate student identification. The pricing model remains the same on the Metro but is discounted on public buses at NT$12 rather than NT$15. Cardholders after October 2015 will not receive the $3 NT discount on public buses according to EasyCard Corp.
Note: As of 1 May 2010, at certain convenience store chains (7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life, OK Mart), Adult and Student cards may be purchased with NT$200 (NT$100 balance and NT$100 deposit).
- Concessionaire: These cards are reserved for children (under eligible legislation), seniors over 65 years of age, and disabled persons. It offers discounts depending on the service used.
- Taipei Pass: A special-purpose card that allows for unlimited travel on the Metro and associated bus services and unlimited trips on the Maokong Gondola. The pass is sold as a one-day, two-day, three-day, or five-day pass. It expires on midnight of the expiry date. Buses that accept the card will display a TaipeiPass identification sticker.
Debit and co-branded credit cards
Joint-branded cards allow for an EasyCard to be linked with a credit or ATM account to automatically add value. This allows for consumers to pay for products, services, or government fees with the card. The option remains popular with users in spite of handling fees and a limit of how much money can be added per day (NT$500).
Auto-recharge applied to debit card to make up to 3 times of each NT$500 at all Designated retailers and value-adding machine at Metro stations
Mobile device integration
Several attempts have been made to embed EasyCard radio chips into mobile devices, enabling "transactions by phone." Users are not billed by their telecommunications accounts; rather, they can read transaction records and check balance using a supported mobile phone.
As the value of an EasyCard can be used for transactions of scarce services and products, security measures are important. EasyCard uses multiple encryption techniques to prevent illegal modification of values and hacking.
At the 27th annual German Chaos Communication Congress hacker conference ("27C3") in 2010, German free software programmer Harald Welte showed that it is possible to artificially change the amount of money stored on a first-generation EasyCard —based on the MIFARE Classic chip— using nothing more than a USB RFID reader and a laptop computer running open source software. Welte denounced the system for its poor choice of cipher and lack of user authentication. He was able to map out and manipulate the card's internal format in 2 days on a trip in Taiwan.
However, hacking the EasyCard remains illegal, and in September 2011 a 24-year-old engineer was arrested on suspicion of fraudulently using a hacked EasyCard.
The EasyCard has been very popular since its launch in 2002. By 2010, over 23 million cards had been issued. (The source did not say what cards have returned has subprised)
Critics have called for stronger measures to promote name registration of EasyCards in order to protect consumer rights. Over NT$600 million is lost yearly in lost cards. As of 2009, less than 0.02% of cards had been registered.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to EasyCard.|
- "Sogo's Taipei stores now accepting EasyCard". Taiwan News. 2010-05-03. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "About Us: Origins". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "About Us: EasyCard Milestones". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "Smart Card Corp. changes name to increase visibility". The China Post. 2008-08-09. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "EasyCards upgraded". The China Post. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "About Us: Operation and Growth". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "About Us: EasyCard Corp.'s Logo". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "Scope of EasyCard Use". Yam News. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- "Taipei's transit 'EasyCard' payments to be expanded to taxis, parking meters". Taipei Times. 2005-07-25. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- "Taipei EasyCard Corporation to expand use of cards". Taipei Times. 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- "Taiwan's `Super Card' wows model U.N. delegates". Central News Agency. 2010-03-06. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "EasyCard limited editions raise funds for charity". Central News Agency. 2009-07-18. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "What is EasyCard? How to use EasyCard?". EasyCard Corporation. 2010-07-04.
- "What is EasyCard? How to make recharge to EasyCard". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "What is EasyCard? Where to buy EasyCard". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "About Us: How to use EasyCard?". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "What is TaipeiPass? Where to buy it?". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "What is TaipeiPass? How to use it?". EasyCard Corporation. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "EasyCard and four banks to introduce joint-branded card". Taipei Times. 2009-01-17. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- "Latest Easy Card offers credit option". National Immigration Authority. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- Harald Welte (29 December 2010). Reverse Engineering a real-world RFID payment system (Presentation recording). 27th Chaos Communication Congress (27C3) at the Berlin Congress Centre, Alexanderstr. 11, 10178 Berlin: Chaos Computer Club. 4036. Archived from the original on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
- "Young engineer hacked into EasyCard, police say". Tapei Times. 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- Contactless Smartcard Technology Needs More Security
- "悠遊卡目前發行量已高達2300萬張". Central Network Association. 2010-12-24. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- "NT$600 mil. lost yearly in missing EasyCards". The China Post. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2010-07-04.