Taiwan poised to license experimental outward remittance service

03/06/2021 07:02 PM
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CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only
CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, March 6 (CNA) Two companies will soon be able to apply for formal licenses for an experimental money transfer service that they were permitted to set up in 2019 mainly to accommodate migrant workers, according to the county's financial regulator.

When the amended Act Governing Electronic Payment Institutions takes effect in July, institutions other than banks will be permitted to apply for licenses to provide outward remittance services, the Financial Technology Development and Innovation Center (FTDIC) said recently.

This will include two companies -- Welldone Co. in Taipei and startup EMQ Ltd. in Hong Kong -- that received permission from Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) in January 2019 to offer money transfer services on a trial basis, using new financial technologies, the FTDIC said.

Under the "sandbox" scheme, Taiwan-based clients of Welldone and EMQ can deposit money with them via their mobile apps -- QuickPay and EMQ Send, respectively -- for transfer to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, using a service at convenience stores in Taiwan.

The fees are lower and the transfer time is usually one day, as the two companies do not have to go through the global financial service provider SWIFT typically used by banks, said the FTDIC.

The FSC has twice extended its permission for use of the experimental services by the two companies, and they can soon apply for a formal license when the amended law takes effect in July, said the FTDIC, which is part of the FSC.

Meanwhile, the FTDIC said, the two companies are working with the Taiwan government to improve identity checks of their clients, to meet the FSC's anti-money laundering regulations that include a "know your customer" procedure.

Those identity checks will also alert the two companies if their clients are flagged by Taiwan's Ministry of Labor as illegal workers, the FTDIC said.

As of Jan. 31, there were 709,853 legal migrant workers in Taiwan, with Indonesians in the majority at 261,602, followed by Vietnamese (239,616), Filipinos (150,376) and Thais (58,252), according to labor ministry statistics.

(By Hsieh Fang-wu and Kay Liu)

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