What is the Easycard?
Similar to the Octopus Card in Hong Kong, the Taipei Easycard, or 悠遊卡 (Yōuyóu kǎ), allows passengers to conveniently ride the Taipei MRT or bus systems without the need to constantly search for loose change. 7-11, Family Mart, and other convenience stores and supermarkets also accept the Easycard for payment. The standard card is called 'adult' (普通卡), and student cards (學生卡) and concessionaire cards (優待卡) allow for discounts for some services.
Where can I purchase an Easycard?
Easycard can be purchased at all MRT stations and convenience stores such as 7/11 or FamilyMart generally for NT$100, with the exception of limited issue cards with special designs which will be more expensive. Card are issued with no balance, so be sure to recharge the card with some credit after purchase. All credit can be later refunded at MRT stations.
Besides the Easycard, there are a few other IC Cards (integrated circuit) that are also available for usage in Taiwan. The iPass (一卡通) is the local card for Kaohsiung, however can also be used island-wide. Other cards include HappyCash (有錢卡) as well as iCash which offers promotions at 7/11 and other shops owned/operated by Uni-President such as Starbucks, Mr. Donut, and Cosmed (康是美).
For convenience, visitors are recommended to recharge the Easycard then use that card to make purchases at convenience stores and other shops to avoid carrying excess change. Receipts eligible for the free lottery can be stored electronically onto the Easycard, which may quickly be verified during the redemption period at convenience store kiosks.
What are some places I use my Easycard?
- Public Transit
- Taipei MRT (20% discount), standard train service, public bicycle rentals, city busses, the Maokong Gondola (next to Taipei Zoo), Taoyuan Airport MRT, and the Kaohsiung MRT, as well as some local transit options
- Convenience Stores and Shops
- Family Mart (全家), 7-11, Hi-Life (萊爾富), OK, SimpleMart (美聯社), and others including some drink shops
- Public Parking
- Parking garages, street parking meters
- Taipei Zoo admission, long distance busses, functions as a membership card for some establishments
The popularity of the Easycard has lead to its adoption for events and conferences, allowing participants to have easy identification and access via an Easycard associated with the event.
Some educational institutions have issued student ID cards with an integrated Easycard, allowing students to simply tap their student ID for services within the campus.
Other categories of Easycard available include student and concessionaire card, both of which provide discounts on different transport services. Student cards can be purchased with presentation of a local Taiwan student ID, and student IDs issued in other countries are not accepted. Children under the age of 6 are allowed free entry into the Taipei MRT, and may also have free entry in other places as well. The concessionaire card is available to everyone over the age of 65, and can be purchased after verification of Taiwanese ID or foreign passport.
Besides the standard design, several other types of card designs with popular characters and cartoons are available all over the island. Each convenience store will have a different selection of cards, so shop around to find the most interesting one.
Easycards are also integrated into other financial products in Taiwan such as credit and ATM/debit cards, allowing auto recharge services from the associated account when the Easycard balance is low. Some mobile operators offer Easycard-enabled SIM cards with post-paid contracts, allowing users to launch an app on their phone to emulate the usage of a physical Easycard. Cards have been integrated into other products such as keychains, watches, phone cases, and some mobile handsets.
Local governments have also issued different types of cards to their residents enabling them to more easily access social benefits, allowing convenience when using government services and providing subsidized transportation for groups such as seniors (敬老卡) and the disabled (愛心卡). Cities such as New Taipei allow seniors 60 standard bus fares per month stored on their Easycard, and cards for the disabled and their helpers allow different assistances and serve as proof of disability.
Easycard was launched in 2002, and is built upon MIFARE technology and utilizes either RFID or NFC for its communication with terminals.
Other tips and pointers
The Easycard is the best choice for the Youbike public bicycle rental system.
The EasyCard is recommended for all public transit, especially train rides from Hsinchu through Taipei out to Ruifang.