Easy Card is Taiwan’s most popular payment system, everyone uses it for transportation and buying snacks.
The problem is you have to carry around a card. Be honest, how many Easy Cards have you lost during your travels in Taiwan?
Buying a new one sucks, especially when you’ll probably lose it again in a couple of minutes. You also never know how much money is on it.
I was lying in bed pondering these issues, when I decided to research adding Easy Card to your phone.
The ghetto version of this would be to tape your Easy Card to your phone’s case. But we are classy…
In theory, it sounds great. It should work. I mean, if Samsung Pay and Google Pay can snatch up your credit card information and add it to your phone, why can’t it work for Easy Card?
Surely the Easy Card technology isn’t better than banks?
Since my phone has NFC and works with mobile payments, I was wondering if I could add my Easy Card to my phone.
It Can Be Done:
As it turns out, there is a way to add an Easy Card to your phone, so you can leave one more card at home. I’ll walk you though the steps.
But first, keep in mind this is a relatively new service.
In fact, according to the company’s website, in 2016 the first mobile NFC Telecom Easy Cards were launched. Then, in 2017, the auto-load function was added. And like most tech in Taiwan, it takes awhile to catch on. When you’re done reading this article you’ll be ahead of the curve.
- Android Phone
- Android Phone with NFC
- NFC Sim Card
- Ability to Say “Easy Card” and “NFC SIM”
With this service, you can touch your phone to any Easy Card sensor and it should work.
You can use it to pay for buses, MRT rides, convenient store snacks, and – of course – that single can of emergency Taiwan beer.
Now, if you looked into this before you have probably found that weird Easy Card app in the Google Play Store called Easy Card Smart Wallet NFC.
That’s not what you need. I don’t even know what that app is for because it’s… honestly, quite terrible.
Basically, it’s used to advertise various offers and promotions, and it’s all in Chinese (Sorry tourists!).
Contact a Phone Carrier:
What you need to do is head down to your local mobile phone carrier store. There should be one… on literally every corner in Taiwan.
Phone carrier stores are almost as common as convenient stores in Taiwan.
Next, ask them for a NFC SIM and Easy Card service.
It shouldn’t take them too long to figure out what you need, especially since you only really need to say two words “NFC Sim” and “Easy Card”.
Chances are you’ll need a resident card for these things. I recommend asking the SIM CARD sellers at the airport for the NFC sim and Easy Card service, they might have options for tourists.
What you need to know is every carrier has their own app that works with Easy Card, and they’ll probably install it for you.
The good news is I got my NFC Sim Card for the grand total of… zero NT – it was free. It looks like most of the carriers have promotions for free NFC Sim upgrades, so make sure to ask.
In my case, I was with 台灣大哥大, one of the most popular carrier’s in Taiwan. They happily upgraded my SIM card and installed the Easy Card app on my phone.
The app is called WALI (something in Chinese) and it’s all in Chinese, but you don’t need to do much with it.
Just make an account (the staff will walk you through it) and tap the little Easy Card logo to see your card details, such as remaining value, recent purchases, and what not.
Unfortunately, although the app has a function to add a credit card to load the Easy Card, that service isn’t recommended.
So what this app does is create a kind of virtual Easy Card that works just like a regular one, except in your phone.
The main downside is you have to manually add value, either at convenient stores or MRT stations. To add value, pretend your phone is an Easy Card and put it on top of those Easy Card value adding machines at every MRT station.
Another downside is this only works on Android phones that have a built-in NFC feature. Apple doesn’t support this service yet.
And boom. Now have an Easy Card on your phone. No need to bring a wallet.
Now instead of losing a single cheap MRT card, you can lose your whole phone.
How cool is that?
And yes, I verified it does work. I used it on the MRT and to buy some emergency beers at 711.