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Taiwan wants to protect cash access with "smarter" ATMs

Jan. 2, 2020 Share Source
Bank branches are closing across Taiwan, but since cash use is a core part of life on the island state, ATM numbers are booming!

A recent report from the Financial Supervisory Commission, published near the end of 2019, revealed that Taiwan has the highest ATM density in the world, with over 30,000 ATMs for almost 24 million people across its 6,193 km² of land.

"The loss of bank branches in Taiwan is similar to other markets as banks try to cope with market dynamics and reinvent themselves, but cash remains king here and people are slow or unwilling to adopt non-cash payment methods, so ATMs remain prevalent."
" "In Taiwan, cash is still king" Taipai Times (Dec 30, 2020)

Brushing off criticisms about high ATM density frustrating cashless innovation, Taiwan’s financial regulations chairman Wellington Koo recently signaled a commitment to protecting cash access. To do so, Koo says to expect an "upgrade" across the ATM network, but assures the change would only occur as long as regulations are "sound".

Concerns for the physically challenged and cyber security are mentioned as priorities for the chairman, thus curbing expectations for a speedy transformation.

"ATMs remain an important part of people’s lives, and they will not disappear but rather morph over time"
" Wellington Koo (顧立雄) Chairman Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC)

Perhaps it is no surprise that the Tiger of Asia is patiently waiting before pouncing on just any cashless campaign. The practical benefits of cash are undeniable, this, combined with the strong sentimental attachment felt by the citizens, makes a dramatic drop in ATM numbers unlikely.

Last Updated: Feb. 21, 2020

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