Get a card without foreign transaction fees and decline DCC to avoid paying unnecessary fees.
You’ll find that Mastercard and Visa are more popular in Taiwan than American Express, but you can still pay with your Amex card in some places or use an ATM. Despite that, Taiwan is still mostly dependent on cash. In some places, like family restaurants or small shops, you may not be able to pay with your credit card at all.
But this shouldn’t be a problem since you can use an ATM to withdraw cash with favorable exchange rates and potentially low fees — or none at all.
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Most travel cards come without foreign transaction fees. If you don’t have such a card, consider getting a second card that offers this perk without an annual fee. This way, it won’t cost you anything to own the card and you can exclusively use it when you travel abroad.
Potential credit card fees in Taiwan
When you use your credit card in Taiwan, you may incur fees, such as:
- Foreign transaction fees. Depending on your card, you could pay a fee of up to 3% of each transaction abroad. This means you would pay a $60 fee if you spend $2,000 with your card.
- Currency conversion fees. Sometimes at an ATM or merchant, you may be offered to pay in US dollars instead of in local currency. This is called a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) and usually has a poor exchange rate and higher fees.
Can I incur both fees on a single transaction?
Yes, you can. To avoid this, get a card without foreign transaction fees and decline DCC if offered.
Which credit card issuers are accepted in Taiwan?
American Express cards are accepted in Taiwan, but not as much as Visa and Mastercard are. If you want to withdraw cash with your Amex card, look for Chinatrust Commercial Bank ATMs.
Discover cards are rarely accepted in Taiwan. At the time of writing, there are no ATMs where you can withdraw cash using a Discover card.
US Dollar to New Taiwan Dollar Exchange Rate
Should I use my credit card to get cash in Taiwan?
Taiwan is still heavy on cash usage, and most of the small and family-run restaurants may not accept credit card payments. In this case, you could make a cash withdrawal from an ATM. Keep in mind that you’ll likely pay a cash advance fee, which can be up to 5% — that’s up to a $25 fee for a $500 cash withdrawal. Additionally, you’ll start incurring the cash advance APR from the moment you make the withdrawal.
One way to avoid paying the high APR and the cash advance fee is to get a debit card, which usually comes without such fees.
Do taxis in Taiwan accept credit cards?
In general, they don’t. But if you want to pay for your ride with a credit card, you can use Uber. Typically, Uber is less expensive than a regular taxi in Taiwan anyways.
Chip-and-PIN credit cards
You shouldn’t have any problem if you have a chip-and-PIN card. Just make sure the logo of your card matches the logo on the ATM or POS terminal.
Is it safe to use my credit card in Taiwan?
Yes, it’s safe to use your credit card in Taiwan. But for added security, you should always try to:
- Use an ATM within a bank. This is particularly useful if for some reason the ATM holds your card. You’ll be able to quickly get it back with assistance from one of the branch employees. ATMs within a bank are also less likely to be tampered with.
- Take two credit cards. You may lose your card, or it may not work. By having a backup card, you won’t be left without money.
- Keep your card in sight. Although rare, card cloning can happen in Taiwan. To avoid this, make sure you keep your card in sight.
How to prepare before traveling to Taiwan
- Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. Most travel cards have no fees when used outside of the US.
- Opt for Mastercard or Visa. They’re universally accepted, while American Express is less popular in Taiwan. And if you take your Discover card with you, know that you may not be able to find an ATM.
- Get a backup card. If something happens to your primary card, you’ll have another card to help you out.
- Get some cash. You can use an ATM at the airport or in the city to withdraw cash. ATMs in Taiwan have favorable exchange rates and usually have no additional fees.
- Inform your bank that you’re traveling to Taiwan. If you don’t, your bank may consider your foreign transactions to be fraudulent and block your card. When you’re scheduling your trip, you can ask your bank if they have partner banks in Taiwan as well.
- Get your bank’s phone number. If you lose your card or have any other card-related issues, you’ll know who to call.
Top travel card to consider for frequent travelers to Taiwan
If you’re a frequent traveler to East Asian or Oceania countries, you could use a card like the Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card by Bank of America. The card has no foreign transaction fees and lets you earn miles on your purchases — which you can redeem for flights between the US and Taiwan or any other East Asian country.
Credit cards aren’t as widely accepted in Taiwan as in other places, but they’re safe to use and you shouldn’t have a problem paying where credit cards are accepted. Your only issues might be the foreign transaction fees and DCC, but if you get a travel card and decline DCC when offered, you’ll save some money.
See more guides on using a credit card in other countries.