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Taiwan’s stimulus vouchers explained

by WP

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year, Taiwan’s government announced a second stimulus program to encourage consumer spending (the first program ran between July and December 2020). While most of the information about the program is in Chinese, some foreign nationals are eligible to receive stimulus vouchers. Here, we explain what the stimulus program involves, who is eligible and how eligible recipients can apply, receive, and spend the vouchers.

Voucher Program

2021′s stimulus program involves the government issuing TWD 5000 (approx. USD 180) in vouchers to eligible citizens and residents. Unlike the TWD 3000 stimulus vouchers last year, these vouchers are free and do not require users to pay TWD 1000 to receive them. Vouchers are issued in either paper or digital format. Paper vouchers can be used at restaurants, stores, hotels and other participating businesses nationwide before 30 April 2022. They will be issued in the following formats: TWD 200, TWD 500 and TWD 1000. Digital vouchers come in three formats; those linked to credit cards, those linked to stored value cards, and those linked to mobile payment platforms. They can also be used to make purchases on participating eCommerce sites.

Eligibility

The following people are eligible to receive stimulus vouchers:

  1. Taiwanese nationals, including nationals without household registration but with a Taiwan residency card or national ID
  2. Foreign spouses of Taiwanese nationals
  3. Alien Permanent Residence Card (APRC) holders
  4. Foreign diplomats

Vouchers for foreign diplomats will be issued directly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the time of writing, other foreign nationals in Taiwan, including ARC and Employment Gold Card holders, are unfortunately not included in the program.

Important Dates

  1. Digital vouchers can be applied for anytime between 22 September 2021 and 30 April 2022.
  2. Paper vouchers can be applied for online from 25 September 2021.
  3. Paper vouchers can be applied for from convenience stores from 9am on 25 September to 10pm 1 October 2021 and collected between 8 October and 21 October 2021. A second application period runs from 9am on 25 October to 10pm on 31 October with vouchers collected between 8 November and 21 November 2021.
  4. Paper vouchers can be applied for at most branches of Chunghwa Post from 4 October 2021 and collected between 12 October and 30 October 2021.
  5. All vouchers must be spent by 30 April 2022.

How to Apply

The vouchers can be applied for from the easy-to-remember web address 5000.gov.tw.

Paper vouchers can also be applied for in store during the above application periods by using iBon or FamiPort service machines at convenience stores or by visiting branches of Chunghwa Post. Likewise, paper vouchers can be collected at convenience stores or branches of Chunghwa Post during the collection periods provided above. When applying for paper vouchers online, you will be asked which convenience store location you wish to collect your vouchers from. Expect to see additional promotions from participating businesses encouraging you to spend your paper vouchers with them.

To prevent overcrowding at stores and post offices, the government is encouraging the online application and use of digital vouchers.

For digital vouchers, click through links are provided for each participating bank, stored value card issuer or mobile payment platform. Users will then be able to complete the linking of the vouchers to their desired card. There are additional promotions available from each bank or card issuer to encourage users to link their vouchers. For example, banks are offering cashback or lottery promotions for linking to their credit cards. Stored value cards such as iPass, iCash2.0 and EasyCard are offering extra credit when you link to their cards. Mobile payment platforms such as LINE Pay Money are offering points or other benefits for linking vouchers. Please refer to individual bank, card issuer or mobile platform’s dedicated stimulus voucher page for more information.

Choose wisely. Once you have linked your vouchers to a digital payment method, you can not change to paper vouchers, nor can you change to another digital payment method.

Additional Promotions

There are a total of eight add-on promotions run by different government agencies to encourage spending in designated industries. The majority of these are lottery draw promotions. They are:

  1. 好食劵 – for restaurants, night markets and food stalls
  2. 國旅券 – for the tourism industry (hotels, hostels and hot springs, etc)
  3. i原券 -   for businesses recognized by the Council of Indigenous Peoples
  4. 農遊券 – for agriculture, fishing and forestry businesses
  5. 藝FUN券/ArtsFunNext – for the arts
  6. 動滋券 – for sports
  7. 客庄券 – for businesses recognized by the Hakka Affairs Council
  8. 地方創生券 – for businesses recognized by the National Development Council

The first 4 million people who register for the digital vouchers will automatically receive the add-on vouchers for restaurants, night markets and food stalls. For the others, people must register separately. Lotteries will be drawn each week between 11 October and 5 November. Winning participants will be notified by text message. An overview of the add-on promotions and each lottery draw period can be found here. Please refer to each add-on promotional website for more details. Some individual program websites were not available at the time of writing. We will add links once they go live.

Local governments have also announced additional promotions to encourage spending in their areas. For example, Taipei City’s program requires users to download the TaipeiPASS mobile application.  TaipeiPASS promotions are available to all users including ARC holders, and are not limited to Taipei City residents. Vouchers can be used at participating restaurants, hotels, hostels, night markets, sports facilities, movie theaters and other businesses in the city. Validity periods and eligibility requirements for vouchers issued by local governments may differ from those set by central government. Taipei City’s voucher program information page is available here.

Spending Restrictions

Vouchers can be used in most businesses nationwide. Vouchers can also be used to pay hospital registration fees, school tuition fees, community college fees, buxiban/cram school fees, 30 or 60-day TRA train tickets, phone bills, gas bills and even purchasing products sold at temples. Because the aim is to stimulate consumer spending, vouchers can not be used to pay for stocks, water and electricity bills (run by state-owned enterprises), fines, health insurance, tax, government fees or stored value transactions. Digital vouchers can not be used on foreign eCommerce sites.

Spend wisely. It is up to the individual store whether they will give change.

Our Takeaway

While the government is encouraging the use of digital vouchers, we believe that like last year, most people will opt for the paper vouchers as they provide greater flexibility. Because they come in TWD 200, TWD 500 and TWD 1000 values, consumers can spread their spending around at different locations. They are also more convenient if you wish to donate them or give them to others. Happy spending!

 

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