"I earn more than NT$100,000 every month and my wife just stays at home collecting my money, yet, no banks would issue me a credit card while my wife has 3 platinum cards in her wallet" Sounds familiar? Being an outsider, one of the obstacles in finance is that no bank would issue you a credit card even if you can find guarantors to endorse for you, unless you are a manager in a big company. Well, except for asking your wife/friends to pay for you when it's needed, you do have other choices in Taiwan.
In Taiwan, ATM cards all have a chip embeded in the front of a card and a magnetic stripe on the back. When withdrawing domestically, ATMs verify the pin, 6-12 digits, you've typed in with the info in the chip; when withdrawing overseas, such verification, 4 digits pin, goes through the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. A Visa ATM Debit card replaces the ATM magnetic stripe with a VISA magnetic stripe, a card that serves as an ATM card as well as a VISA card. Like any VISA credit cards, a VISA ATM Debit card can be used in any VISA merchants both domestically (Taiwan) and in foreign counties. It works as a debit card, the balance is directly deducted from your bank account and there is no delay in payment functions.
There are 15 Banks in Taiwan issue VISA ATM debit cards, including Chinatrust Bank, Taichung Commercial Bank, Taipei Fubon Bank, Taishin Bank, Taiwan Business Bank, Shin Kong Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Mega Interbational Commercial Bank, First Commercial Bank, Hua Nan Commercial Bank, Cathay United Bank, Union Bank of Taiwan, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and the post office. Anyone who opens a savings account is eligible to apply for a VISA ATM Debit card, including foreigners.
Currently, only 6 banks allow internet online use, they are: Taishin Bank, Hua Nan Commercial Bank, Chinatrust Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Taiwan Business Bank and Cathay United Bank. You should find your name, dates of validity and expiry, as well as 2 account numbers, your savings and VISA numbers embossed on the cards that are issued by those 6 banks. On the others, you will find no embossing nor your name, but a statement "Electronic Use Only" on the front of the cards.
Since the ATM magnetic stripe is now a VISA stripe in a VISA ATM debit card, when withdrawing overseas, it is considered as "borrowing" cash from VISA. Therefore, except for paying an international withdraw processing fee to the bank, a VISA international exchange settlement surcharge will be added on top of your withdrawl.