If you’re living and working in Taiwan, you’re going to want to open a bank account. Usually, the company you’re working for will help you with this, but that isn’t always the case. We’d recommend you get help from a local person, regardless of your Chinese ability, as opening a bank account involves filling out complicated forms and some Mandarin vocabulary you probably won’t have encountered before. But if you are going it alone, here’s a quick guide that will help make the process slightly easier.
Why open a bank account in Taiwan?
It’s pretty common for Taiwanese companies to only want to pay their employees by transferring money into a Taiwanese bank account. So, if you want your salary, you’re more than likely going to have to open one. Having Taiwanese currency paid into a Taiwanese bank account also avoids any potential charges involved with money being paid into an overseas account.
Who should open a bank account in Taiwan?
You should open a Taiwanese bank account if you’re a resident living/working/studying here, someone who travels here regularly, or run a company that does business with Taiwan. Out of the three, it is easiest for foreign residents (ARC/APRC holders) to open bank accounts.
What do you need to open a bank account in Taiwan?
To open your Taiwanese bank account, you’ll need:
- A minimum of NT$1,000 (at most banks)
- To be at least 20 years old
- Have fixed residence/mailing address in Taiwan (not a hotel or PO Box)
- A valid ARC/APRC
- A valid passport
- Email address
- Local phone number
- Social Security Number (US citizens only)
What challenges may you encounter?
Even if you have the right to open an account and have all the valid documents, your biggest hurdle for foreigners is language barrier. You’ll have to fill out a form that outlines specific account details, including the type of account you want (most foreigners open a demand deposit account, which is basically a savings account), what account functions you want (online banking, ATM card, etc.), as well as more administrative information. Moat banks don’t offer a proper English-speaking service, so getting help from someone who can read and write Chinese.
Also, expect the process to take a while, set aside at least an hour of your day to complete the bank account-opening process.
Expect to be asked the following questions:
- What is the purpose of opening this account? (and the safe answer should be “for working in Taiwan”)
- Who do you work for?
Where is your company located?
Where do you live in Taiwan?
➝Most banks only allow you to open an account in the city that your company is located or where you live)
- What is the average amount that you’ll deposit into this account per month? (yes, it’s private but they’ll ask anyway…)
Useful Chinese Phrases for Opening a bank account
- 帳戶(zhanghu)=bank account
- 網路銀行(wangluyinhang)＝online banking
- 提款卡(tikuanka)＝ATM card
- 信用卡(xinyongka)＝credit card
- 金融卡(jinrongka)＝debit card
- 存摺(cunzhe)＝bank book
- 外幣帳戶(waibizhanghu)=account for foreign currency
- 提款(tikuan)＝withdraw/make a withdrawal
- 存款(cunkuan)=make a deposit