Financial Supervisory Commission, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

Migrant workers will be able to remit money at lower costs to Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand from almost any convenience store in the country once regulatory changes take effect later this year.

EMQ Taiwan and Welldone Co are expected to launch their remittance programs at President Chain Store Corp, Taiwan FamilyMart Co, Hi-Life International Co and OK Mart by May at the latest under reforms adopted by the Financial Supervisory Commission, Taiwan Times said, quoting Lin Chih-chi, Director-General of the Department of Planning.

“We hope this experiment could serve as a stimulus, encouraging local banks to improve their services and reduce their fees,” Lin said.

The commission said EMQ Taiwan had linked up with Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank so that workers could remit funds using its ATMs and online banking services. It will serve workers from Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, with a limit of NT$30,000 (US$976) per transfer and NT$70,000 (US$2,276) per day, NT$100,000 (US$3,251) a month and NT$500,000 (US$16,263) a year.

Welldone will handle remittances to these three countries as well as Thailand, using its four local branches. Transfers will be limited to NT$70,000 (US$2,276) a month and NT$360,000 (US$11,710) a year.

For foreign workers, the biggest advantage will be lower costs: handling charges by the two financial companies will range from NT$150 (US$488) to NT$300 ($9.80) per transaction, compared with the standard rate of NT$400 ($13) charged by banks.

As there were 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan at the end of 2018, it is estimated that the new system could reduce their combined handling fees by NT$70 million ($2.3 million) to NT$175 million ($5.7 million).

The changes are the second part of a “regulatory sandbox” that was given preliminary approval by the commission in December.

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