Taipei EasyCard Guide: Taiwan’s Smart Card

A Taiwan EasyCard is an integrated circuit (IC) card used to pay for various goods and services throughout Taiwan without cash. These cards start at NT$100 ($3.00) and make your time in Taiwan more convenient.

When moving to Taiwan 5 years ago, the first thing I did was buy an EasyCard. Throughout this guide, I’ll explain my reasoning.


Summary

  • An EasyCard is a card that allows you to pay at shops & public transportation without cash.
  • You’ll need to pay a NT$100 deposit fee for the card.
  • I highly recommend using this card for public transportation; no matter how long you’re in Taiwan.
  • The EasyCard doesn’t give you discounts on anything.

Important

What Do I Do With Unused Funds on an EasyCard

You can take your EasyCard to an MRT station information counter and pay a NT$20 ($0.72) fee to refund up to NT$3,000 ($100) of unused funds from your card.


Does the Taiwan EasyCard Expire?

The Taiwan EasyCard does not have an expiration date. Unless you use a Student card. Your funds will remain on the card until you either refund it or spend all your money.


What Is an EasyCard in Taiwan?

EasyCard, Yo Yo Card or 悠遊卡 (Yōuyóu kǎ), is a contactless security smart card developed and maintained by EasyCard Corporation.

The Taipei EasyCard costs NT$100 ($3.60) and has zero balance. You can fill the balances from various mediums I’ll cover in this guide.

You can get 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.

The maximum amount that you can put on an EasyCard is NT$10,000 ($359).

Are you worried about your Yo Yo Card failing you?

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

You don’t have to register your Taipei Smart Card. However, failing to register your card won’t allow you to receive reimbursement or protection if someone steals your card.


Discounts the Card Provides

Using an EasyCard to transfer to and from the following transportation vehicles will receive these discounts [1]:

  • YouBike (Taipei only): rent one within an hour of departing the Taipei MRT & get a NT$5 discount.
  • Buses: NT$8, NT$6 & NT$4 discount when transferring between the Taipei Metro & bus within an hour.
  • Danhai LRT (Tamsui District):
    • Seniors & children receive a NT$4 discount when transferring.
    • Everyone else gets a NT$8 discount.

Interesting EasyCard Designs

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

These are limited edition and often difficult to find due to scalpers.

Here’s a link that’ll show you all the current “cute” designs for EZ Cards (Chinese link).

Some cool designs I’ve found include:

  • PlayStation controller: 3D card
  • Poké Ball: 3D card
  • Vitamin C supplement bag: 3D card
  • Lycée popsicle: 3D card
taipei mrt easycard
ps2 cont easycard

3D EasyCards aren’t cards, they’re whatever shape the object they represent is, but have NFC chips inside. These are also EasyCard keychains, which makes them easier to carry.


Where do You Buy These Cards?

Here’s where you can get an EasyCard:

7-ElevenOnline shopsEasyCard Corp. service centerGrocery stores (sometimes)
AirportsTravel websitesFamilyMartMRT station kiosks
Metro station service countersSchoolsCredit cards
Places you can buy a Taiwan EasyCard from.

Avoid buying these online if possible. Unless they’re from a known brand. A hacker COULD upload malware to these cards.

Referring to schools. Your education institution will give you an EasyCard once during your orientation.

Some credit cards come with an EasyCard built-in.

Looking for EasyCards like the PlayStation controller picture in the previous section? These are limited edition and aren’t in stock, anymore. But they’re on Shopee (Taiwan’s Amazon). However, they’re marked up and it’s sketchy to buy smart cards online.

Since these cards use NFC, people could install malware on these cards and sell them. I may be paranoid in this scenario. But it’s something to consider.


How to Use it

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
claw machine in taiwan
Claw machine with an EasyCard reader.

To know if you’re tapping a smart card sensor, pay attention to what surface others use to pay with their smart card. Or search for a surface with the text “IC card.”

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 Taiwan metro card to notify them that it’s your payment method.


Here’s How to Add Money to an EasyCard

Here’s how you can top up a Taiwan EasyCard:

  • Metro & train station touchscreen kiosks
  • Convenience stores
  • Speak to metro station staff
  • Through the EasyWallet app
taiwan easycard vending machine
EasyCard vending machine in Taipei MRT station.

Most convenience store clerks can’t speak English. Just hand them your EasyCard and cash. They’ll likely understand that you want to refill your card with the amount of cash you presented.

Refilling your card at an MRT station is a different story. All the staff I’ve encountered speak English.


Types of Cards & Who Can Use ’em

Depending on what group you fall under, you can get 1 of these cards:

  • Taiwan Adult EasyCard
  • Taiwan Student EasyCard
  • Co-branded credit card
  • Taiwan Concessionaire EasyCard

Taiwanese citizens can get these cards:

  • New Taipei City Children’s Cards
  • Welfare EasyCard
  • Taipei City elementary school digital Student ID EasyCard

I’ll only emphasize the former 4 Yo Yo Cards.

The following sections will explain eligibility requirements for each card.


1. Adult: The Card Most People Will Have

Most folks are eligible for the Adult EasyCard, or 普通卡 (Pǔtōng kǎ). Find these cards anywhere that sells EasyCards. 


2. Student: For Students

You will receive a Student EasyCard from your education facility if the Ministry of Education recognizes you as a student.

An MRT Student EasyCard, 學生卡 (Xuéshēng kǎ), will serve as your identification to check into class, university libraries, and cafeterias.

If you’re considering studying in Taiwan, you’ll want to see my guide on getting a Taiwan Student Visa.

Taipei City elementary school students with a Student EasyCard will get a 40% discount on single-journey MRT rides. New Taipei City elementary school students receive a 60% discount.

Anyone holding a Student EasyCard will receive an NT$8, NT$6, or NT$4 discount when transferring between a city bus and an MRT within an hour. Taipei Metro’s website doesn’t specify what conditions you must meet for a higher discount.

I suppose it varies by trip.


3. SuperCard: EasyCard w/ Higher Balance

The SuperCard is a “buffed” EasyCard that allows holders to have a balance of up to NT$10,000. Holders will only find this card available on Taiwan’s eCommerce site, momo.com. Users can also add value to their cards through their phone.

But you must do so through the EasyWallet app. An app that doesn’t have English support… And from my experience doesn’t work well. Because it requires an internet connection to work.

There’s also the TPASS Supercard. It doubles as an EasyCard/SuperCard and a TPASS. A TPASS is Taiwan’s newest pass that’ll give you unlimited usage of the following public transportation:

  • YouBike bicycle rentals
  • TRA (local train)
  • Light rail transit (LRT)
  • Mass rapid transit (MRT)
  • City bus
  • Intercity bus

The pass you choose and price depends on the region visited. There’s a northern, southern, and central TPASS. I’m not covering these in this post. I’ll have a separate guide.


4. Co-branded: For Credit Card Holders

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 of 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.

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.

However, there are also EasyCards like:

  • Samsung Wallet EasyCard: Use Samsung Pay as an EasyCard.
  • Co-branded Telecom EasyCard: SIM card that functions as a credit card & EZ Card.

5. Taiwan Concessionaire EasyCard: For Seniors & Children

The following groups are eligible to receive a Concessionaire Card / 優待卡 (Yōudài kǎ):

  1. Disabled people: Must have proof of disability.
  2. Folks aged 65 & older.
  3. Children: Their website doesn’t specify what ages count as a “child.”

Seniors with these cards will receive a 60% discount on single-journey Taipei Metro rides.


Everything You Can use an EasyCard With

Here’s where you can use an EasyCard [2]:

Night MarketFood To TryDistrict
Nanjichang Night MarketStinky TofuZhongzheng
Ximending Night MarketBeef cubesWanhua
Shilin Night MarketCold noodles at Good FriendShilin
Raohe Night MarketBlack pepper bun at Fuzhou Black Pepper BunSongshan
Linjiang Street Night MarketStinky tofuDa’an
Ningxia Night MarketDeep fried taro ballsDatong
Dalong Night MarketDan Zai noodlesDatong
Gongguan Night MarketTaiwanese burgers at Lan Chia GuaBaoDa’an
Guangzhou Street Night MarketNothing specialWanhua
Jingmei Night MarketTofu puddingWenshan
Liaoning Street Night MarketSquid soupZhongshan
Shida Night MarketFried chicken at Shi YunDa’an
Shipai Night MarketNothing specialBeitou
Shuang Cheng Street Night MarketNothing specialZhongshan
Yansan Night MarketSpiced chicken rollsDatong
737 Night MarketPig’s blood cakeNeihu
Huaxi Night MarketSteamed minced pork with pickles in broth at Wang’s BrothWanhua

This table shows where you can use Taiwan’s EasyCard.

* I couldn’t find an English name.

The following sections will cover some main uses for EasyCards and potential discounts they offer.


Transportation in Taiwan That Accepts it

Use EasyCards to pay for the following public transportation.


1. Taiwan Railway (Local Train)

You can use EasyCard Taiwan to enter and exit the following Taiwan Railway Association (TRA) trains and lines:

Pixgin linesShalun linesPuyuma Express
* Suao-Keelung-PingtungJiji linesTaroko Express
Shenao inesLiujia linesSpecial & reserved seats
Neiwan lines
* These include Mountain Coast lines.

If you use an EasyCard to enter these trains and lines, you can get a 10% discount on trains traveling less than 70 kilometers (43 miles).

EasyCards won’t give you discounts on Taiwan High-Speed Rail (HSR) tickets. And you can’t use a Yo Yo Card for reserved HSR tickets


2. City & Intercity Buses

The following Taiwan city buses accept EasyCards:

  • Taipei
  • New Taipei
  • Keelung City
  • Tainan City
  • Yilan County
  • Matsu City
  • Taichung City

Tap these cards on the IC card sensor when entering and exiting the bus. The first tap notifies the bus you’re on. The second will charge your card based on the distance traveled.


3. Subway Stations

Use an EasyCard to enter the following metro stations:

  • Taipei Metro: Carries you through Taipei & New Taipei cities.
  • Kaohsiung Metro: Takes you around Kaohsiung City.
  • Taichung Metro: Takes you around Taichung City.
  • Taoyuan Metro: Will ferry you from Taoyuan (and the airport) to New Taipei & Taipei cities.

You’ll get a 15% discount off the Kaohsiung Metro (KRTC) when using an EasyCard to enter the station [3].

But you can’t get a discount when using this smart card on other metro systems.

Long-term Taiwan stayers can get a rebate on the Taipei MRT based on the number of trips they take in a month.

Here’s the Taipei MRT rebate chart [4]:

# of Trips RequiredCashback Percentage
11-2010%
21-3015%
31-4020%
41-5025%
51+30%

You’ll get your rebate at the beginning of the following month. Check the MRT ticket machines to see your rebated amount.

Calculate your cashback for the current month by multiplying cumulative fare from the previous month by the cashback ratio. Round this to the nearest dollar.


4. YouBike: Bicycle Rental Service in TW

You can use an EasyCard or iPASS to rent any YouBike 1.0 or 2.0. To use YouBikes, you’ll need to register your card online with a phone number.

I cover how to do this in the guide I linked a second ago.

YouBike (or uBike) is an affordable bike-sharing system in most cities throughout Taiwan.


Okinawa, Japan: EZ Card Use Outside Taiwan

EasyCard and SuperCard holders can pay for goods and services at over 2,000 stores throughout Okinawa.

I couldn’t find any list of places that accept this card on EasyCard’s website. But I know you can use the card to enter the Naha fish market, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, and Kyoda Service Area.

Whether an expat or traveler, you’ll benefit from this additional EasyCard support. Say you’re island hopping in Asia. Go to Taiwan, get an EasyCard, fly for 1.5 hours to Okinawa, and use the card.

But:

To use the card in Okinawa, you must register your EasyCard on the company’s website. And holders CAN’T add value while in Okinawa. Unless you have a Co-branded card. You’ll need to use your crystal ball to guess how much you’ll spend in Okinawa, then add the balance to your card.


Where to Use the Card in Taipei

Service/StoreCategory
Taipei MetroMetro
Taoyuan Metro (Airport MRT)Metro
Maokong GondolaAttraction
Taipei City HospitalHospital
New Taipei City HospitalHospital
Guandu Nature ParkAttraction
National Taiwan MuseumAttraction
Taipei Fine Arts MuseumAttraction
Taipei Children’s Amusement ParkAttraction
Taipei ZooAttraction
Mackay Memorial HospitalHospital
Taipei 101Food Court
Tri-Service General HospitalHospital
Fullon HotelAttraction
Yehliu Geopark (New Taipei)Attraction
The Landis TaipeiBakery
Taipei City Bike Rent StationBicycle rental
Taipei City Parking Management and DevelopmentParking

How About in Kaohsiung?

Here are specific uses for the Yo Yo Card in Kaohsiung:

Service/StoreCategory
Kaohsiung MetroMetro
HamasenAttraction

And Taichung?

Here are places you can only use the Easy Card in Taichung:

Service/StoreCategory
Taichung MetroMetro
Lihpao ResortWater park in Taichung

And Taoyuan

Check out these places to use EasyCards in Taoyuan City:

Service/StoreCategory
Landseed HospitalHospital
Zhongmei HospitalHospital
Chang Gung Memorial HospitalHospital
Lotung Pohai HospitalHospital
Hungchi Women & Children’s HospitalHospital
Scenic Area Service Industry, TaoyuanAttraction
TaimallFood Court

How To Check Your EasyCard’s Balance

The easiest method is to use ticket kiosks at metro centers.

Adjacent to every MRT service counter, you’ll see a smart card reader that displays your balance and transit history.

You can also 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.

EasyWallet app
Adding an EasyCard to the EasyWallet app.

Find this number on the lower portion of your EasyCard.

How to check for EasyCard Number
How to check for EasyCard Number

If you don’t want to search for your card’s number, 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.

Not near a metro station? Take your smart card to a convenience store and ask the staff to check your balance. You may need to use a translator app.

When you enter a bus or MRT gate, your balance will briefly display on the card reader screen. Note that number, and you won’t need to check it later.


EasyCard vs. Other Taiwan 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.


1. Versus iPASS

EasyCard has more accessibility than iPASS. Get an iPASS to ensure you have coverage to all services, shops, and restaurants. Otherwise, get an EasyCard.

iPASS works the same as the EasyCard. It started as being exclusive to Kaohsiung and eventually became adopted as a payment method throughout the country.


2. Versus Fun Pass

The Fun Pass targets tourists looking for a stellar deal rather than an explorer. 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.

You also have unlimited access to Taipei’s buses and metro during the duration of these cards.


3. Versus icash 2.0

Purchases with an icash smart card generate points through 7-Eleven’s (Taiwan) parent company, Uni President. The points will go through the Open Point app and eventually provide discounts and freebies.

Upon accumulating enough points.

icash will get you the cash rebate from the Taipei Metro. But you can’t use it with as many places as the EasyCard and iPass in Taipei. For instance, it won’t work with YouBikes.

I only recommend getting an icash if you intend on living in Taiwan.


4. Versus HappyCash

HappyCash is a rewards program that allows cashless payments at places like:

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

You can generate rewards points. But you can’t use it for public transportation.


FAQs

How Do I Register My EasyCard?

Visit EasyCard’s website and provide the required documents. You can only register your EasyCard if you’re a foreign resident with a Taiwan ARC (Alien Resident Certificate) or APRC (Alien Permanent Resident Certificate) number.

Is EasyCard Safe?

The EasyCard isn’t as secure as a card of this type should be. While it uses multiple encryption techniques, it is susceptible to attacks on its cryptography [5]. Keep the EasyCard in an RFID-blocking wallet to protect it.