Excess of ATMs hampers Taiwan’s bid to go cashless

Taiwan has world's highest density of ATMs, making it difficult to push for non-cash payments

(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former premier and Appacus Foundation Chairman Sean Chen (陳沖) wants to revisit Taiwan’s policy on automated teller machines (ATMs), as he believes they are a hurdle to promote cashless payments.

In an article, Chen advised that Taiwan should move on from ATMs, which started springing up across the country four decades ago. Taiwan has the highest ATM density in the world, with around 30,000 as of the end of August, according to the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC).

Last week, the Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank announced plans to withdraw all 40 of its ATMs in Taiwan by the end of this year as part of the global trend to non-cash payments, wrote UDN. This signaled the financial group’s gravitation toward a digital-only bank service.

In an allusion to the book, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," Chen interpreted the magical looking glass that takes Alice to Wonderland as a metaphor for “overturning old concepts will lead to a new world.” To catch up with the fintech revolution and to prevent money laundering, the number of ATMs in Taiwan needs to be slashed, Chen proposed.

Chen argued for a relaxation of the regulation governing financial facilities to help banking businesses transform in a new era. According to Article 57 of the Banking Act, a bank wishing to establish, relocate, or close an operation office or an ATM is required to file an application to the country’s financial regulators.