Using EasyCard in Taiwan: Everything You Need to Know

A white transportation card called EasyCard with strips of yellow, pink, blue, and green

EasyCard (official site / order here) is Taiwan’s most popular and common reloadable smartcard for both locals and travelers. This super handy card can be used to swipe onto public transportation and pay for other things in Taipei an across Taiwan.

Using an EasyCard is simple and easy – hence the name! But there are still quite a few questions you might have about it: How to buy and load it? How to buy cute ones? EasyCard for kids or seniors? Is it the same as the Taipei Fun Pass or iPass? Can I refund the deposit? In this article, you’ll find the most current answers to all those questions and more.

Love saving money? Also read my guide to the best budget flights to Taiwan.

What is Easy Card?

EasyCard is also called Yoyo Card (Chinese: 悠遊卡 or youyou ka, literally “leisurely traveling card”. Some people colloquially call it their “Taipei MRT Card or just “MRT card”.

This rechargeable smartcard was first introduced in Taipei (see my Taipei city guide) in 2010 to make it faster and easier for passengers to swipe in and out of Taipei MRT stations .

Over time, it became possible to swipe the card for buses, ferries, YouBike, and even some taxis. It can also be used to pay for items at most convenience stores, as well as some department stores, supermarkets, parking lots, and tourist attractions.

EasyCard acceptance has also spread around the country, including in Kaohsiung city, which has the competing iPass – a similar smartcard that can now also be used across the country.

You can’t pay for EVERYTHING in Taiwan with EasyCard. You’ll still need cash to pay for lots of things, not to mention you can only use cash to top up your EasyCard.

How Much Does it Cost?

One regular, adult EasyCard has a TWD 100 non-refundable deposit. In the past, you could return the card at the end of your trip, and get the 100 dollars back, but now you can’t.

Besides the deposit, you also need to load some money onto the card before using it. A standard adult card costs TWD 500, so that means you’ll have a balance of 400 for riding around.

If you buy it from an MRT station service window, you can ask them to put any amount.

Where Can I Buy It?

The three main ways to buy an EasyCard are on Klook, in any MRT station in Taiwan (including Airport MRT stations), or at any convenience store.

On Klook

If you buy your EasyCard on Klook before you arrive in Taiwan, there are a few advantages. First, this is the one of the few ways you can buy and load an EasyCard with your credit card.

In Taiwan, you can only buy or load them with cash at most places (Exceptions: EZFly counter at Taoyuan International Airport, but you can only load 200 there, and you can use credit card to buy EasyCards at some convenience stores, but not to load them with money).

You will have to pick it up upon arrival at Taoyuan International Airport. The pickup kiosk is the Unite Traveler Counter. It is located in the Arrivals Hall of each terminal – see the Klook page for a map of each one.

The Unite counter is open 4:30 AM to 11 PM, so I don’t recommend ordering your EasyCard on Klook if you arriving in Taiwan between 10 PM and 3:30 AM (it usually takes about 1 hour to get through the arrival process at Taoyuan Airport).

The Klook deal comes with the option to add TWD 200 or 400. So once you include the 100-dollar deposit, you will need to pay TWD 300 or 500. There’s also the option to add a SIM card by Chunghwa. This is my most recommended SIM Card for Taiwan – see why in my Taiwan SIM card guide.

You can also buy a Chunghwa SIM card on its own, without an EasyCard.

In Any MRT Station

An EasyCard kiosk at Taoyuan Airport MRT station
EZFly Counter at Taoyuan Airport MRT station

If you are arriving early or late at Taoyuan International Airport, or you don’t want to buy the card on Klook, you can just buy it in the Airport MRT station. You can also do this if you’re landing at Songshan Airport in the Taipei City center or any other airports in Taiwan which are connected to MRT stations.

As you’re walking into the Airport MRT station, watch for the EZfly counter, which sells TWD 300 EasyCards (100 deposit + 200 for spending). They even take credit cards – the only place in Taiwan I’m aware of that you can buy a pre-loaded EasyCard with credit card, besides ordering one on Klook.

Only the Taoyuan Airport MRT station has this EZfly kiosk. In all other MRT stations in the city, you can just buy an EasyCard from the service window, with cash only.

A single journey and IC card vending machine in Taoyuan Airport MRT station
You can also buy an EasyCard from the blue machine on the right at Taoyuan Airport MRT station

You can also buy a TWD 500 card from the “IC Card Vebnding / Top Up” machines (100 deposit + 400 for using). The machines only take cash. Note that these are not the same as the machines used for buying single ride tokens (the purple ones on the left above).

You can also buy an EasyCard from the Airport MRT station service window. They can put any amount you want.

There are also machines and service windows in every MRT station in Taipei, Taoyuan (including Airport MRT), Taichung, or Kaohsiung. You can buy a card and add any amount you want at the window, in cash only. Service hours are around 6 AM to midnight.

A hand holding up an EasyCard with images of Taipei on it
Taipei-themed EasyCard I got from the EZfly counter

In a Convenience Store

You can also buy an EasyCard at any major convenience store branch in Taiwan. These include 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, HiLife, OK Mart, I-Mei Foods, and Simple Mart.

These convenience stores are EVERYWHERE in Taiwan, so you’ll never have trouble finding one.

How Can I Buy a Cute EasyCard?

A hand holding up an EasyCard in a paper and plastic holder with Pokemon characters all over it and a shelf of Pokemon stuffies behind
Pokemon EasyCard

Buying your EasyCard at a convenience store has one additional bonus. They carry all kinds of super cute ones! They might feature cartoons, Taiwanese foods, animals, or scenes of Taiwan.

These cute MRT cards are changing all the time, but you can browse the latest cute EasyCard options here. Once in the past, there was even an EasyCard featuring a Japanese p*rn star!

Some of these cute EasyCards cost more, though. You can expect a deposit of TWD 199 to 399 instead of the usual TWD 100 for most of them. But there are even some cute ones which still only cost TWD 100.

At the Pokemon Center in Taipei, you can also buy TWD 100 Pokemon themed EasyCards (same price as a normal one!) at the till.

EasyCards for kids, students, seniors, or disabled?

A cure orange Taipei MRT Concessionaire card with a cartoon character on it
The “Concessionaire” EasyCard

Kids under six (age 0-5) can ride the MRT for free in Taipei and other cities in Taiwan, including the Airport MRT. If your child is above 115 cm, they may ask the see ID.

Children aged 6-12, seniors, or the disabled can get a concessionaire card. The card only gives some very small discounts. You can only get the concessionaire card at an MRT station or convenience store. You cannot order one on Klook. You may need to show ID proving your age or disability to get it.

Unfortunately, children just visiting Taiwan cannot apply for student MRT cards, which give a bigger discount. If you’re a foreign student in Taiwan, your school or university may issue you a student ID card which also has EasyCard function. If not, you get a student EasyCard at any MRT station by showing your Taiwanese school ID (IDs from schools outside Taiwan won’t be accepted).

How do I Recharge my EasyCard?

A row of three EasyCard reloading machines in a Taipei MRT station
Machines for reloading EasyCard found in every MRT station

When your MRT card runs low or runs out of money, it’s time to reload it. Every time you enter or exit an MRT station, take note of the remaining balance (not possible to see on buses, shops, etc). You can also check the balance of your card at one of the reloading machines or service window in any station or on this website.

It’s possible to dip into your TWD 100 deposit. For example, if your card only has TWD 5 balance left on it, you’ll still be able to enter the MRT. If your ride costs TWD 30, you will have a –25 balance when you exit the station, and it will make a different beeping noise to alert you about this. If your balance is negative, you can’t use your card until you top it up to a positive balance.

To recharge your EasyCard at a machine in the “Easy Card Sales and Top Up” machine in any MRT station, just place your card on the sensor then insert bills. These machines only take TWD 100 bills. When you’re done, take it off the sensor. You can’t top up your card at the single-ride token machine (the one that shows the MRT route map above).

To recharge your EasyCard at the MRT station service window or a convenience store, just hand them the card and cash. Tell them “我要加五百塊”  (I want to add 500 dollars / wo yao jia wubai kuai) or whatever amount you want to add. These windows will take any bills or even coins.

Topping up EasyCards is cash only. It’s not possible to charge an EasyCard with credit card. To pay for an EasyCard with credit card, buy one on Klook before your trip, but once the TWD 400 runs out, you’ll only be able to reload it with cash.

What’s the Maximum Amount?

The maximum amount you can load onto an EasyCard is TWD 30,000. Since this is very unlikely for travelers, you don’t have to worry about it.

How Much Discount does the Card Give?

Swiping with an EasyCard is the same price as paying for a single ride on most MRTs and buses. Basically you are paying for convenience, not savings. It’s so much faster to enter an MRT station with EasyCard. Or imagine trying to collect all the exact change for taking a bus when there’s a line of people behind you!

However, EasyCard does give a small discount when transferring (adults TWD 8, concessionaire card holders 4) from a Taipei MRT to a bus (or vice versa) within one hour. You also get a TWD 5 discount when transferring from the MRT to a YouBike.

EasyCard users also get a TWD 20 discount if they swipe to ride Maokong Gondola (weekdays only), or TWD 20 discount if they swipe to enter Taipei Zoo and then to enter Maokong Gondola.

If you use your EasyCard to tide a TRA train, there’s a 10% discount for rides under 70 kilometers.

The Kaohsiung MRT offers a 15% discount to EasyCard users.

Is There an EasyCard App?

Yes, EasyCard has an app called EasyWallet (Apple / Android). You can scan the app’s QR code to enter stations.

However, the app is in Mandarin only, and only local citizens or residents (ARC holders) can register for it. Users in Taiwan usually connect their Taiwanese bank account to their EasyWallet app so it will automatically reload money when it runs out.

Where Can I Use EasyCard?

Here’s a list of all the places you can swipe your EasyCard.

Transportation

The inside doors of an MRT in Taipei, with cat stickers on the walls
The Taipei MRT
  • MRT: All of them, including Taoyuan Airport MRT, Taipei MRT, Taichung RT, and Kaohsiung MRT
  • LRT: All of them, including Danhai Light Rail in Tamsui and Kaohsiung Light Rail
  • City buses: All of them across Taiwan. Always swipe when you get on and again when you get off.
  • TRA Trains: only for standing tickets on Local, Tze Chiang, or Chu Kuang Trains. You won’t be guaranteed a seat. Find more info in my guide to train tickets in Taiwan.
  • Ferries: shorter ones, like from Tamsui to Fisherman’s Wharf or Kaohsiung to Cijin Island, but not to other offshore islands in Taiwan
  • Intercity or long-distance buses: Only a few, like buses between Taipei and New Taipei City, most buses within a county, and buses from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan or Chiayi to Alishan.
  • Taxis: Only some have a scanner for swiping EasyCard
  • Parking lots: Only some. Learn more in my guide to driving in Taiwan.
  • YouBike: You need a local phone number to register for an account if you want to use EasyCard to rent a YouBike. You can still rent a YouBike for one-time use with a credit card. Find out how in my YouBike users’ guide.

Other Things

  • Convenience stores: All major ones.
  • Attractions: Only a few, like Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, Maokong Gondola, Taipei Zoo, Hsinchu Zoo, Yehliu Geopark, National Palace Museum, Taipei Fine Arts Museum
  • Street food vendors / night market stalls: only some of them
  • Shop and department stores (only some of them, only for purchases of up to TWD 1000), pearl milk tea shops, supermarkets (watch for EasyCard logo at the till)
  • Click here to see which shops, restaurants, and so on accept EasyCard.

Where Can I NOT use EasyCard?

An orange and white bullet train parked in an underground station beside the platform
You’ll need a ticket for the HSR
  • HSR (High Speed Rail): It’s possible, but only if you get a co-branded EasyCard / HSR credit card from a Taiwanese bank, and even then, you can only sit in the non-reserved section. For most travelers, you can’t. Just buy a non-reserved ticket at the station, or buy a ticket in advance on Klook, T EXpress app, or the official HSR site. See my guide to booking HSR tickets.
  • TRC (TRA) Trains: You can’t get a seat reservation if you swipe EasyCard to board the train, so you may have to stand. For Taroko Express, Puyuma Express, and Tze Chiang Limited Express EMU3000, you can’t swipe EasyCard because these trains are reserved seats only. See my guide to booking TRC train tickets in Taiwan.
  • Long-distance / intercity buses: Usually for buses between cities, or any bus starting from a bus station or terminal, you’ll need to buy a ticket. You can book some buses online here.
  • YouBike: If you don’t have a local phone number to register, you can’t register your EasyCard for YouBike rental. But you can still do a one-time use with credit card.
  • Most tourist attractions, like Taipei 101 Observatory, Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, Zhang Mei Ama Leisure Farm, Leofoo Village, E-Da Theme Park, and so on.
  • Most street food vendors, night market stalls, small shops, restaurants, and so on. You’ll still need cash for these. Only some take credit cards.

EasyCard vs Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass

A Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass on the left and EasyCard on the right
Fun Pass and EasyCard

EasyCard and Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass are totally different passes. EasyCard is what almost everyone uses for swiping onto transportation and other things across Taiwan. It is rechargeable and you keep using it for as long as you want.

Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass (buy here on Klook) is a special pass for tourists only. It is only valid for 1, 2, or 3 days, depending which option you choose. The passes gives you unlimited MRT and bus rides in Taipei, New Taipei City, and Keelung only (no Airport MRT and no buses with 4 digits, like the bus to Jiufen). You can also use it for some Taiwan tourist shuttles on certain day trips from Taipei.

The Fun Pass also includes access to 25 attractions in and around Taipei. That may sound great, but the pass is not cheap and you are unlikely to visit all or even most of those attractions.

To find out if it’s worth the money, make a list of all the attractions you will actually visit, and estimate your total MRT rides (multiple by TWD 30), and see if the pass will be cheaper. If you’re in Taipei or traveling around Taiwan for longer than three days, you’ll probably need to also want to buy an EasyCard.

Note that when you activate the Fun Pass (by using it the first time), that day will count as your Day 1, no matter what time you activate it. So try to start it in the morning to get best use of it.

There’s also a Taipei Transportation Fun Pass, which includes transportation only for one day, plus the option to add Maokong Gondola. And then there’s the newer Klook Pass which covers 2-5 attractions only, no transportation, and a more generoud 30 days to use it.

EasyCard Vs. iPass

EasyCard and iPass are the two most common transportation smartcards in Taiwan. EasyCard started as a Taipei MRT card, while iPass started as a Kaohsiung MRT pass.

In the past, EasyCard was the only one accepted in the north, and iPass the only one in the south of Taiwan.

Today, both passes are accepted almost everywhere in Taiwan. However, EasyCard remains the leader island-wide, with more places accepting it than iPass.

Therefore, for most travelers to Taiwan, I recommend EasyCard, unless you plan to live or spend an extended period of time in Kaohsiung.

What is TPass and All Pass?

Taiwan also has a new monthly unlimited transportation pass called TPASS. It will replace the older “All Pass”. TPASS launched in summer 2023.

There are three TPASS regions: northern, central and southern Taiwan TPASS. The Northern Taiwan TPASS covers Taipei City, New Taipei City, Keelung, and Taoyuan (including Airport MRT) and costs TWD 1200.

The Central Taiwan TPASS covers Taichung, Miaoli, Nantou, and Changhua. It costs TWD 699 for residents of 999 for non-residents.

The Southern Taiwan TPASS covers Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung. It costs TWD 999.

The passes can be used for unlimited rides on MRTs, LRTs, local buses, a few ferries, trains that don’t require seat reservation (just like EasyCard), and some intercity buses within the region. it is valid for 30 days.

The Taipei All Pass is discontinued. It was a month-long pass which gave unlimited rides on all MRTs, buses, and the first 30 minutes of YouBike rides in Taipei and New Taipei City (Taoyuan Airport MRT was not included). The pass cost TWD 1280. It was discontinued on June 30, 2023.

Can I Get a Refund for my EasyCard?

You cannot get back your TWD 100 deposit. In the past you could, but this is no longer possible.

However, if you have any remaining money on your card (beside the TWD 100 deposit), you can get it refunded at any MRT station service window. You can only refund up to TWD 3000, and a TWD 20 service fee will be deducted.

So if you are leaving Taiwan, just do this at the service desk at the Airport MRT station just after you swipe out from your last ride.

How Can I Check the Balance on my EasyCard?

There are several ways to check your EasyCard’s balance. In Taiwan, it will show the remaining balance anytime you exit an MRT station. You can also check in on one of the machines in the station or at the ticket window.

Online, you can check an EasyCard’s balance here (Mandarin only, but the page is easy enough to navigate).

If I Leave Taiwan, Can I Still Use My EasyCard Next Time?

EasyCards have no expiration date. Even if you leave Taiwan for many years, you can still bring your EasyCard back and continue using it. (I’ve heard about 20 year limit ­– confirm).

If your card is inactive for two years, you’ll have to reactivate it by adding any amount of money to it.

Why Isn’t My EasyCard Working?

Sometimes, you try to enter a station, and you are pretty sure you have money on your EasyCard, but it won’t let you swipe in. Usually this is because you didn’t swipe out properly the last time you used your card.

All you need to do is go to the MRT service window and tell them the card is not working. They will do some magic, and it will work again.

If you’re already inside the MRT, and it won’t let you leave, just to the same thing. They’ll probably ask you where you started your journey so that they can deduct the appropriate amount.

If you hear some crazy beeping when you enter or exit a station, that’s also usually an indication that something is wrong. Just see the service desk if there’s any problem next time you try to go in or out.

22 thoughts on “Using EasyCard in Taiwan: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. For buses, not. You’ll need to buy a bus ticket at the bus station ticket windows first. For HSR, no. You can’t swipe EasyCard for riding HSR in Taiwan. For regular (TRA) trains, yes, but only certain ones (Local type, Chu Guang, or Tze Chiang – any number except 3000). You won’t have a reserved seat, so if they are full, you’ll need to stand. You can’t use it for reseervation-only trains, which are Puyuma, Taroko, and Tze Chiang 3000.

  2. “klook is the only option for credit card charging of EZCard”
    Then proceeds to mention that you can also do this at EZFly counter.
    wut?!

  3. Hello. When I arrived in Taipei I bought an Easycard from a stand at the airport near the MTR I think. I was only offered a”cute” card which I don’t like but the lady only offered a choice of 2 childish cards on keyrings. I paid 495$ and she also said I needed a purple token for the train to the city. Why did I need that token if I could have used the Easycard on the train. Your website says Easycard can be used on trains to the airport. I’m very confused. Can you explain please?

  4. It sounds to me like you paid a lot of money for a “cute” and “collectible EasyCard that didn’t even come loaded with any money. And if you didn’t care about the cuteness, that was definitely a rip off, because normal ones only have a TWD 100 deposit, and you can find some other cute ones at 7-11 which only cost a little more, not 495. And what she said doesn’t even make sense – if that was an EasyCard, you should load money onto it in the station and use it to ride the Airport MRT, which 100% takes EasyCard. That makes me think that the thing you bought was maybe not even an EasyCard but just a keychain or something?

  5. Each person must use their own card. If one card is swiped twice, it will cause it to malfunction and you won’t be able to exit the MRT without taking it to the service desk so they can fix it.

  6. Hi Nick,
    Thank you for these useful posts. I just like to confirm that I can swipe the Easy Card to get on the MRT Airport train to and from Taipei Main Station without buying a physical ticket.

    Thanks,
    Hung N.

  7. FYI, when seeking to buy an easy card via credit card, I just did that in a family mart. But topping up is still cash only, so not really a game changer or anything.

  8. Thanks, that’s good to know! So I guess you were only able to pay the deposit for the card with credit card, but not actually load any money onto it?

  9. Hello, thanks for the informative post. Please amend the ‘refund’ section to acknowledge that it is extremely difficult to get a refund when you leave. I am at Kaohsiung airport at 11:30 am on a Wednesday, and the only authorised refund counter is closed. You can no longer get a refund at the airport MTR counter.

  10. Thanks for sharing. Do you mean you tried to refund it in the Kaohsiung International Airport MRT station service window and they wouldn’t do it? Or you only tried inside the airport?

  11. hello Nick, I’m Sandy,
    I want to ask whether there is a discount on easy cards for children and the elderly for foreigners?

  12. All this information is in the article. Children under 6 ride free. Non-resident children above 6 and seniors don’t get a discount and must use adult EasyCard. Children 6-12 can get a “Concessionaire EasyCard” from the MRT station service desk, but it doesn’t give discounted fares, only lower prices on some other things, including a small discount when transferring between two different types of transportation.

  13. Hi Nick,

    Can we use easycard on Citiair bus? Can we buy MRT day pass with easycard? Pls advise. Thx

  14. If you mean the CitiAir bus from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei, no, you need to buy a ticket for that one. You can buy a ticket from the CityAir ticket window at Taoyuan Airport bus station (T1 or T2) or at Taipei City Hall station.

    MRT Day pass is a different card than EasyCard. You can’t combine the two.

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