For those that visit, do business, are moving to, or are attending school in Taiwan, starting a bank account is important for your financial needs.
Due to the political unrest in Hong Kong, many banks in the region are looking for alternatives to Hong Kong, and Taiwan is a feasible choice due to having lower restrictions than other countries.
If you are considering opening a bank account in Taiwan for any reason, read on.
In this article, we’ll go over a simple explanation of how you can start your own bank account in Taiwan.
By the end of this step-by-step guide, you’ll be ready to bank in Taiwan.
Benefits of Having a Bank Account in Taiwan
There are some benefits of having a bank account in Taiwan as opposed to other countries in the region.
- They are excluded from many international regulatory bodies, so it can be somewhat of a tax haven.
- There are foreign banks in Taiwan, as well as Taiwanese banks.
- It’s very easy to get a local I.D.
- They have strict privacy and confidentiality laws.
- It is easier to get approved for an account than in some other countries.
Know the Requirements for Opening a Bank Account in Taiwan
There are a few requirements you must meet before opening a bank account in Taiwan.
Keep in mind that you do not need to be an official citizen of Taiwan, however, a foreigner who has never stepped foot in Taiwan before will not be able to open an account so easily.
Here are the basic requirements for non-Taiwan citizens to open a bank account:
- Be at least 20 Years Old. The first requirement is that banking customers must be at least 20 years of age. If you’re under this age, you simply cannot open a bank account, even if you’re a citizen.
- Have a Tourist Visa: Some banks will allow you to open very limited bank accounts with only a tourist visa and a Republic of China ID card. This type of bank account is not ideal for permanent residents, as its main purpose is for the conversion of foreign currencies to the New Taiwan Dollar (NT).
- Have Proof of Fixed Residence. Next, you will need proof of a fixed place of residence in Taiwan for some banks. Not all banks require this, so you do NOT have to be a resident to open an account. If required, your proof of resident must come in the form of an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC).
The requirements for the APRC are as follows:
- Have lived in Taiwan for at least 5 years for at least 183 days per year
- Spent said time in Taiwan not enrolled in college courses
- Any children or the spouse of the applicant must have also legally lived in Taiwan for 10 years.
If you meet these criteria, you are eligible for an APRC.
You must, however, apply for this certificate within two years of meeting the eligibility requirements.
Note that a visitor visa is not sufficient proof of residence for opening a bank account.
Also, being a student alone does not grant one proof of residence.
You must live in Taiwan for at least 915 days while not taking classes in order to qualify for APRC.
However, again, you do NOT have to be a resident to open a bank account.
Next, there is the application process. In order to apply for a bank account in Taiwan, you must appear in person to present the required documents and fill out the requisite paperwork.
Here are the steps to open a bank account:
- If you do not have an ARC or APRC, apply for a Record of ID number from the Republic of China from the National Immigration Office.
- Choose a bank that meets your requirements. If you do not have an ARC or APRC, you need to find one that will accept your Record of ID.
- You will need to take your ARC, APRC, or Record of ID, your proof of address and phone number, your passport, and your cash to deposit to the bank to apply in person. Remote account opening in Taiwan is rare.
Generally, the minimum opening deposit required is TWD $1000.
Choosing a Bank
There are many different banks in Taiwan, each with its own perks for its customers.
Each bank has unique requirements, which will be listed here:
Citibank is an international bank with branches all over the world.
In order to open a Citibank account, you must initially deposit and maintain a minimum balance of 25,000 NT, or $893.02 USD.
If you fail to maintain this minimum balance, you will be penalized for $17.86 per month.
Citibank of Taiwan offers perks such as cashback cards, interest on deposits up to 1%, and the ability to buy foreign stock for a small fee.
HSBC of Taiwan is another large international bank.
There are many advantages perks you can gain with these accounts, such as transaction fees as low as 0.3% when investing in foreign stocks and ETFs.
It’s also easier to apply for personal loans, invest, and exchange currencies.
The bank also offers a robust online banking service with stellar customer service.
In order to open an account with HSBC, you will need to deposit and maintain a minimum of 3 million NT, or $107,161.99 USD.
ESUN is one of the largest banks in Taiwan.
This international bank has branches around the world and offers some pretty great perks.
Among them are travel benefits on their cards, ideal for those who travel frequently.
The initial deposit and minimum balance requirement vary for the type of account you need, however, they typically range from $1,500 to $150,000 USD.
If none of the large banks appeal to you, there are many local banks that you can do business with.
There might not be as many perks with these small banks, however, accounts can be opened for as little as 1000 NT, or $35.73 USD.
Transferring money to or from your bank account is not always easy in Taiwan.
You may want to choose an international bank like Citibank if you need to make transfers.
If you do online banking, make sure that the bank you choose has a website in English if you don’t read Taiwanese, and be sure to check that your debit card can be used internationally.
Make Your Initial Deposit
Once you have presented your documents, got your application approved, settled on a bank account type, and chose the bank you wish to work with, you’re ready to go!
All you have to do at this point is make your initial deposit, and you can begin banking in Taiwan.
Note that the process of approving your application may take some time, so you may not be able to start banking immediately after you submit your paperwork.
Additionally, make sure you read the fine print of the policies that your bank has set forth.
Try to avoid racking up fees, and go about writing checks carefully.
The banks of Taiwan are a bit more strict on foreigners, so they will not tolerate bouncing checks or fraudulent behavior.
Other than that, enjoy your banking experience in Taiwan!
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