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Money Related Matters

Currency:

The official unit of currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD, TWD or NT$). Coins come in denominations of NT$1, NT$5, NT$10, and NT$50. Notes come in NT$100, NT$200, NT$500, NT$1000, and NT$2,000 (rare) denominations.

Exchange Rates:

Taiwan exchange rates with most other countries’ currency are stable, especially with the US Dollar. It is usually about NT$30 to US$1. Check this site for the latest rates: www.xe.com/ucc 

Finances:

We suggest that you bring around NT$50,000 to NT$60,000 with you in order to sustain through the first 30 to 60 days, as you will need the extra cash to front for start up costs such as housing deposits, etc., before receiving your first paycheck. You should change your money into NT dollars on arrival at Taiwan’s CKS International Airport, as it is difficult to exchange any currency except US dollars at banks of Taiwan. The exchange counters at the airport are open throughout much of the day, so be sure to exchange money upon arrival.

ATM Cards:


International ATM cards that offer Plus or Cirrus on the back can sometimes be used in Taiwan. Ask your home bank if you will have difficulty using such a card. ATM card ownership in Taiwan is high, but they are used mostly to withdraw money from ATMs and not to make purchases directly. ATMs are abundant, easily found at banks or inside convenience stores. Some are fickle and may not work even if they have the appropriate Cirrus or Plus logo.

 

Credit Cards:

Although you cannot use them everywhere, and charges for cash withdrawals are prohibitive, major credit cards are widely accepted by hotels and large retailers.

Travelers’ Checks/Money Orders:

Travelers’ checks are very hard to exchange. If you bring travelers’ checks, you can have US$ denominations exchanged at Chiang Kai-Shek Airport upon arrival. Banks are more difficult to use for such changes. It has taken some teachers up to 6 months to get these exchanged!

Banks and Transfers:

Bank hours are from 9:00am to 3:30pm, Monday through Friday, and closed on public holidays. Most banks offer currency exchange services. The safest bets are the Bank of Taiwan and HSBC. In general, US dollars are the easiest currency to exchange in Taiwan, and changing other currencies may depend on the stock available in the banks at the time. Some currencies, such as South African Rand and New Zealand Dollars, are almost impossible to exchange at banks, as they do not carry stocks of these at all. When changing money, remember to bring your passport and keep your exchange receipts.

If you want to transfer money from Taiwan to home, it is a good idea to check in with your bank at home. They will be able to give you all the necessary details regarding their international codes, etc., which makes it a bit easier once you are in Taiwan.

It is possible to transfer currency from Taiwan to a foreign bank account without having an account at that bank. To transfer money, you need your passport and the cash (in NT Dollars) that you wish to send overseas. Charges are higher if you do not have an account. However, be aware that your home bank may also place charges on incoming transferred funds , so please ask your home bank about this.

Once you get your Alien Resident Certificate (ARC), you will be able to open your own bank account and will be able to send money home more easily. Opening a bank account requires an initial deposit of NT$100. HSBC and Standard Chartered are the best local banks for foreigner friendly services.

Tipping:

It is not customary to tip in restaurants or taxis. Most of the larger hotels or restaurants will add a 10% service charge to your bill, plus 5% value-added tax (the 5% is normally included in listed prices).

How much can I save?:

This is obviously a difficult question to answer because it depends a lot on you...how many hours you work, how much you spend on rent, food and entertainment, and so on.

One thing is certain though: you will always save a lot more in your second year than your first year. All of your up front costs like furniture have been covered already. End of contract bonuses (if available) and tax rebates arrive. You know how to get around, to get things done and to have fun in more cost-effective way than when you first came. So, if saving money is one of your main reasons for coming, you should definitely consider spending at least two years here.

On the other hand, if you goal is experience-orientated, you might take part time hours and study Chinese, learn martial arts, travel all over Asia, or pursue other interests in your spare time. The money you earn teaching part time here is definitely enough to live on, but once you spend the extras on some holidays around Taiwan or Asia, and having all those unique experiences you came for, you not likely to leave with an awful lot left over at the end of the year unless you are pretty frugal or you work more than 30 hours a week.