Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Tuesday urged government agencies to earmark spending to subsidize transaction fees in a way that makes the use of mobile payments for in-store purchases more attractive to consumers.
Lai made the suggestion at one of a series of ministerial meetings aimed at attracting more investment to Taiwan. The meeting focused on measures already adopted to promote the use of mobile payments and looked to the future.
The government has set itself the target of 90 percent of mobile phone users using mobile payments by 2025, a major increase from the current level of 13 percent, according to Cabinet deputy spokeswoman Chang Hsiu-chen (張秀禎).
In terms of supply, more opportunities should be created to make the use of mobile payments more convenient, Lai said, adding that government departments can help promote mobile payments by providing subsidies or selecting stores based on whether they provide mobile payment options.
In terms of demand, Lai said that incentives should be offered so consumers get used to making mobile payments. In addition to government agencies subsidizing transaction fees, measures should be adopted to encourage people to make mobile payment purchases, by for example offering discounts for mobile payments, Chang said.
Commenting on the policy, National Development Council deputy head Kao Shien-quey (高仙桂) said that to promote mobile payments, the government needs to first relax regulations, create an environment favorable to mobile payment solutions and offer incentives to encourage stores to provide such services.
Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said the ministry will discuss the provision of incentives to promote the use of mobile payments to pay bills with state-run oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan, Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) and Taiwan Water Corp.
The Ministry of Finance provided mobile options for the payment of land value tax in November and offered those who took advantage of the option a NT$50 (US$1.69) discount, Wang noted, adding that in the future, mobile payment options will be expanded to cover the payment of other taxes and be available at more outlets, including medical centers, airports, high speed rail and subway stations.
Meanwhile, the ministry will provide a tax incentive to small businesses -- defined as businesses with sales of under NT$200,000 a month -- allowing them to continue paying 1 percent in business tax, even if they expand their operations, as long as they provide mobile payment options to customers, according to Deputy Finance Minister Wu Tzu-hsin (吳自心).
The incentive, which allows small businesses to pay 1 percent in business tax for three years until Dec. 31, 2020, is expected to benefit 400,000 firms, Wu added.