Did you know that you can get an easy card on your phone? Wondering how to do it? In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps.
I use my phone’s Easy Card more often than my normal card, it’s a lot more convenient. And you don’t need to worry about taking an additional card with you. Hell, you don’t even need your wallet.
So you probably know Easy Card is Taiwan’s most popular cashless payment system, everyone uses it for transportation and buying snacks.
If you’re planning to travel outside of Taipei, it’s the perfect idea to add an Easy Card to your phone.
The problem is you have to carry around a card. Be honest, how many Easy Cards have you lost during your travels in Taiwan?
Buying a new one sucks, especially when you’ll probably lose it again in a couple of minutes. You also never know how much money is on it.
I was lying in bed pondering these issues when I decided to research how to add an Easy Card to your phone.
Although there isn’t much information online, it is possible to add an Easy Card to your phone.
Why Would You Want to Add Easy Card to Your Phone?
Because it’s cool, modern, and convenient. With this service, you can touch your phone to any Easy Card sensor and it should work.
You can use it to pay for buses, MRT rides, convenient store snacks, and – of course – that single can of emergency Taiwan beer.
More importantly, you don’t need to carry around pockets of change.
Now, if you looked into this before you have probably found that weird Easy Card app in the Google Play Store called Easy Card Smart Wallet NFC.
That’s not what you need. I don’t even know what that app is for because it’s… honestly, quite terrible.
Basically, it’s used to advertise various offers and promotions, and it’s all in Chinese (Sorry tourists!) – useless.
Unfortunately, adding an Easy Card to your phone can’t be done on your own.
Here’s what you need to do:
How to Add an Easy Card to Your Phone:
To get an Easy Card on your phone you need to go to a phone carrier store and ask for an NFC SIM. When you have the SIM then you can install various apps, the phone company will probably recommend one.
As it turns out, there is a way to add an Easy Card to your phone, so you can leave one more card at home. I’ll walk you through the steps.
Keep in mind this is a relatively new service.
In fact, according to the company’s website, in 2016 the first mobile NFC Telecom Easy Cards was launched.
Then, in 2017, the auto-load function was added. And like most tech in Taiwan, it takes a while to catch on.
I rarely see people tapping their phones to pay at MRT stations. I think most people just don’t know you can do this.
- Android Phone
- Android Phone with NFC
- NFC Sim Card
- Ability to Say “Easy Card” and “NFC SIM”
Here’s what to do…
Contact a Phone Carrier:
What you need to do is head down to your local mobile phone carrier store. There should be one… on literally every corner in Taiwan.
Phone carrier stores are almost as common as convenient stores in Taiwan.
Next, ask them for an NFC SIM and Easy Card service.
It shouldn’t take them too long to figure out what you need, especially since you only really need to say two words “NFC Sim” and “Easy Card”.
Chances are you’ll need a resident card for these things.
I recommend asking the SIM CARD sellers at the airport for the NFC sim and Easy Card service, they might have options for tourists.
What you need to know is every carrier has their own app that works with Easy Card, and they’ll probably install it for you.
The good news is I got my NFC Sim Card for the grand total of…zero. It was free. It looks like most of the carriers have promotions for free NFC Sim upgrades, so make sure to ask.
In my case, I was with 台灣大哥大, one of the most popular carriers in Taiwan. They happily upgraded my SIM card and installed the Easy Card app on my phone.
The app is called WALI (something in Chinese) and it’s all in Chinese, but you don’t need to do much with it.
What it does is basically create a virtual Easy Card for you.
Just make an account (the staff will walk you through it) and tap the little Easy Card logo to see your card details, such as remaining value, recent purchases, and whatnot.
To add value, either place your phone on top of the Easy Card value-adding machines in the MRT or ask a convenient store worker.
I like to use the machines because I can dump all my coins into the slot and add them to my Easy Card.
The Downsides to Having Easy Card on Your Phone:
1 – No Autoload Function
Yes, I mentioned earlier there is an autoload function, but it only works with a very specific credit card. Unfortunately, although the app has a function to add a credit card to load the Easy Card, that service isn’t recommended. Even the phone store worker told me not to use that function.
The main downside is you have to manually add value, either at convenient stores or MRT stations.
2 – Only Works with NFC-Enabled Android Phones
Another downside is this only works on Android phones that have a built-in NFC feature. Apple doesn’t support this service yet.
And boom. Now have an Easy Card on your phone. No need to bring a wallet.
Can You Add Your Easy Card to Apple Pay?
You might be wondering if you can simply scan and add an Easy Card to Apple Pay. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. You have to buy a new Sim Card that acts as an entirely new Easy Card. You can’t upload the details to your Apple Pay.
Can Foreigners Buy an NFC-Sim Card?
There might be options at the airport, but if you visit a phone carrier you will need an ARC number, preferably a local ID. One frustrating thing about Taiwan their systems are designed to only accept local ids, so foreigners are excluded. One way around this is to get a local to enter his or her details for you. If you have an ARC, then try it, if not, there’s no harm in asking anyway.
Now You Know How to Add Easy Card to Your Phone:
So if you meet the requirements, I recommend trying to get an Easy Card on your phone. One feature I really liked about this service is you can see how much money is on the card directly through the app. There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting to add value to your card.
Now instead of losing a single cheap MRT card, you can lose your whole phone.
How cool is that?
And yes, I verified it does work. I used it on the MRT and to buy some emergency beers at 711. It works everywhere Easy Card is accepted.