Debit card offers perks for Indonesian students in Taiwan

New Indonesian ID Card aims to make life easier for thousands of Indonesian students in Taiwan

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PERPITA members, IETO representative Fajar Nuradi introducing Indonesian Identification Card on June 29, 2020. (PERPITA photo)

PERPITA members, IETO representative Fajar Nuradi introducing Indonesian Identification Card on June 29, 2020. (PERPITA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Indonesian Student Association in Taiwan (PERPITA) and the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (IETO) are collaborating with Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) on a debit card for Indonesian students in Taiwan that gives them discounts at Southeast Asian businesses — but the initiative has so far met with mixed success.

The Indonesian state-owned bank joined forces with PERPITA and IETO to overcome the latter's difficulty keeping up-to-date information on Indonesian students residing in Taiwan. PERPITA council members began discussions about introducing the card in line with their mission to provide services and information for all members of the Indonesian student community in Taiwan.

Sitting down with Taiwan News, PERPITA President Elizabeth Milenova spoke about the result of the eight-month talks between IETO and BNI to create the Kartu Tanda Mahasiswa (Indonesian Identification Card) and gave a bit of insight into the benefits of having one.

The student card is widely known among university students in Indonesia and was released in a couple of other countries before it came to Taiwan. It offers Indonesian students several benefits, including the ability to transfer money to or from Indonesia, with lower administration fees every month and control over their financial activities through mobile banking.

In addition, cardholders in Taiwan can get a 5 percent discount on all products at INDEX, a well-known Southeast Asian supermarket chain, by presenting the card at the check-out counter. If students encounter a problem with the card, they can immediately take it up with the BNI office near Taipei Main Station.

With the card already out for around two months, some Indonesian students on the island have pointed out about how convenient mobile banking is. One National Taiwan University junior said, “I can check my balance in rupiah even though I am here in Taiwan. The administration fee is also lower compared to my other Indonesian debit card.”

Some, however, have expressed disappointment that mobile banking cannot be used with certain internet providers in Taiwan.

Others have expressed the view the card is redundant. A senior currently studying at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Kaohsiung stated: “I don’t think it’s really necessary for me to activate my card since I don’t really need any other debit card from Indonesia.”


Mobile banking feature is in Indonesian to provide easier access for Indonesian students. (PERPITA photo)

Meanwhile, the maximum amount per day that can be withdrawn with the card is only NT$10,000 (US$341), while other cards permit NT$20,000 withdrawals. However, BNI said it will raise this limit in mid-September.

Milenova emphasized that, “The card was made for the purpose of helping more students from Indonesia.”

Not merely a debit card, it will be further developed in the future to give more offers and promotions to students who have registered for it, she said. The committee is working hard to find new Indonesian companies and restaurants around Taiwan to partner with.

There are approximately 12,000 Indonesian students currently living in Taiwan. Although the number of registered students has yet to reach the target, PERPITA and the IETO are encouraging students at universities around Taiwan to register as soon as possible and complete the office's database to help safeguard Indonesian citizens.

Registration for the card is simple and free. Personal information can be entered on this Google Form, and new users will receive their cards in about three weeks.