IC cards are rechargeable cards that can be used to pay for fares on public transportation across Taiwan, as well as for purchases at convenience stores, shops and restaurants. It’s a convenient way to pay for small items, with users just needing to touch their card on a reader to pay for something. There are two main systems in Taiwan, EasyCard (from Taipei) and iPass (from Kaohsiung), which are now compatible with each other.
What is covered?
- All the metro systems
- Local buses in all major cities and most places elsewhere
- Local, Express and Limited Express trains and all stations on the Taiwan Railways
- All major convenience store chains
- Major department stores and some chain shop and restaurants
- Many parking lots, especially in Taipei
- Public bicycle rental systems such as YouBike
What is not covered?
- Usage on the Taiwan High Speed Rail
- Special tourist trains on the Taiwan Railways
Before you go to Taiwan
Is there a discount over regular tickets?
Yes. For example, users of the EasyCard get 20% off journeys in Taipei, 15% off in Kaohsiung, and 10% off Taiwan Railways trains for journeys under 70 kilometers. iPass holders receive similar discounts, plus concession and student cards provide further discounts. If you’re going to be in Taiwan for more than a few days, it’s probably worth getting one.
Where do I get an IC card?
Cards can be purchased at any metro station in Taipei or Kaohsiung, and at convenience stores. A non-refundable deposit of NT$100 is required, but the remaining balance can be returned at ticket information booths.
You can also arrange to pick up your EasyCard at the airport to save time lining up to buy one. As for the iPass, you can pick these up at Taoyuan Airport, as well as have them delivered to any address in Taiwan.
Which IC card should I get?
They are pretty identical in usage, but as the EasyCard is from Taipei it’s generally easier to get help with it or find places to charge it in Taipei. The same goes for the iPass in Kaohsiung, so it may just be best to get the card for the city you’ll be spending the most time in.
How to use IC cards
How do I recharge IC cards?
Cards can be recharged at the charging machines and ticket offices at metro stations or any convenience store. The maximum amount that a card can charged to is NT$10,000.
How do I check my current balance?
Your balance can be checked at station machines, or by downloading the official EasyCard or iPass apps on your smartphone.
Using at train stations
Just tap your card on the IC card reader at the ticket gates, then tap again when you leave from your final destination. Your fare will be automatically deducted. If you are changing between lines the system will automatically give you ample time to transfer.
Using on public buses
When you enter the bus you’ll see the card readers next to the driver or just as you enter the middle door. Unless otherwise told by a notice, you need to tap in when you enter and tap out when you exit the bus.
Using at shops or restaurants
Shops and restaurants that allow payment with IC cards should have the logos or pictures of the cards prominently displayed near the cashier. Show your IC card and the staff will get the payment reader ready, then all you need to do is tap it with your card and the purchase is complete.