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I'm going to visit Taipei next week. Now I wonder how good the acceptance of a credit card is there.

Specifically, is it more like in China, where even Visa/Master is rarely accepted in local restaurants whereas UnionPay is widely available, or more like in other countries that Visa/Master has far more share than UnionPay?

And can you use your card (Visa/Master or UnionPay, though I prefer Amex if possible) in cheap local restaurants - those that cost US$3 ~ $9 per person - in Taipei to begin with?

In case the acceptance of a card is low, is there any alternative way to avoid bringing cash in your pocket? For example in China, you can use mobile payment system like AliPay or WeChat Pay and its availability is near 100% even in the cheapest local hawkers possible.

5

After I have stayed there for two weeks, now I find myself pretty disappointed.

The acceptance of a credit card is incredibly low in Taiwan.

  • Restaurants and cafes: arguably, 95% of them don't accept the card. Most of those that accept it are ones that charge you with a service fee (usually 10%). The price per meal starts with about TWD 200.

    One day I tried 15 restaurants and cafes located in Ximending, but found that no one accepted a card at all. I finally found 16th restaurant within a mall, but they took 10% service charge.

    The other day I walked around Xinyi, but all of about 6 to 9 restaurants and bars didn't accept it. Even a bar that costs TWD 400 in one meal and drink didn't accept my card...

    Starbucks accept all of your cards just like it did in other countries (including China). Dante Coffee accept it, but not Amex.

  • Souvenir shops on the street: Some of them accept the card in Ximending. I'm not sure about its probability, but it seems that at least 30% and up to 95% accept it. For example if you want to buy a Pikachu doll or pineapple cakes in sourvenior shops in Ximen street, you can use your card.

  • Convenience Stores: They don't accept any cards. However, you can use a transportation card (悠游卡), which I used in 7-11.

  • Night Market: Almost all of them don't accept it. Even those restaurants that have a store, insted of a stand booth, won't accept it.

  • Public Transport: You can't use a card to purchase a transportation card (悠游卡) nor top it up. I don't use a taxi, but at least you can use your card at Uber.


As to the brand, either Visa or MasterCard has likely the highest acceptance, followed by JCB. Amex is quite limited, more limited than in other countries, which tend to accept Amex more than JCB, I believe.

UnionPay is sometimes accepted especially in places many tourists visit, as well as AliPay, but the acceptance is more limited than JCB, at least guessed from a sticker on the door.

The most shocking experience is that I couldn't use my card at the Songshan airport, to purchase a SIM card. I didn't have cash at that time, so I just left the airport without mobile connection. However, one branch in the city accepted my card (Amex), but anyway it made me pretty disappointed to have no mobile connection from the airport (unlike mainland China, a metro in Taiwan doesn't have Wi-Fi available).

There seems also a mobile payment service called Gomaji Pay, but I didn't find anyone use it. So many people here just pay everything by cash when eating something, even in a restaurant.

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+25

For my trip to Taiwan I bought a Japanese guide to Taipei from aruku-net.jp. The editors asked the owners of every restaurant they visited which credit cards were accepted there.

Going through the pages of the guide, there seems to be an about 50/50 chance that any given restaurant you go to will take a credit card. When credit cards are accepted, it appears that Visa, MasterCard, JCB and ChinaPay are all fairly common. But restaurants that take Amex are very rare indeed.

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