The Taiwan currency name is “New Taiwan Dollar“, shortened as NTD or NT$.
In Chinese language the Taiwan currency is called “yuán” – as the People’s Republic currency – and is written as 元.
In everyday talking the Taiwanese call their money “kuài“. It means “pieces” (of money) so it can be loosely translated as “bucks”. So, for example, a street vendor will ask for “800 kuài” if the price of an item is 800 NT$.
The ISO code of the Taiwan currency is TWD. The ISO code is used for currency rate online or in financial software. Foreign currencies, such as US dollars and renminbi, are normally not accepted for payments.
The current exchange rates of the Taiwan Dollar are the following (always updated):
- 1 USD = 29.02 TWD
- 1 EUR = 34.36 TWD
- 1 GBP = 37.48 TWD
- 1 AUD = 21.16 TWD
- 1 NZD = 19.62 TWD
- 1 MYR = 7.05 TWD
- 1 SGD = 21.34 TWD
- 1 HKD = 3.74 TWD
Banknotes and Coins
Bills come in 1000, 500 and 100 NTD notes. Coins come in 50, 10, 5 and 1 NTD denominations.
2000 and 200 NTD notes are also issued but they are very rare, they are never used in everyday transactions.
How to make payments in Taiwan
Cash is very widely used. It is the only way to pay for taxis, in small restaurants and markets.
Anyway you have to consider that the larger banknote, 1000 NTD, it is only equivalent to 30 USD (2015). So cash is not so handy for many “medium” transactions, unless you want to carry briefcases filled with cash.
Credit cards are used for making payments in shops, department stores, restaurants, hotels. For example, credit cards are accepted without any problem at supermarkets, high speed railway stations or service stations.
A lot of Taiwanese also buy goods with credit cards from online retailers. Foreign credit cards are accepted too.
It is a smart card where you can store a small value (up to 10,000 NTD). It is bought (100 NTD cost) and recharged at convenience stores.
You should really to get one if you are travelling or living in Taipei, Taichung or Kaohsiung.
It is used for paying MRT and bus rides, trains, buying stuff in convenience stores and at restaurant chains. It is a very good and speedy alternative to cash for many small payments.
Taichung buses are free up to 10km when you use an Easy Card. It is called Yoyo Card in mandarin (悠遊卡; yōuyóu kǎ).
How to get cash in Taiwan
Taiwan is a modern country so it is quite simple to change your own in Taiwan currency or withdraw at ATM machines.
All banks have ATM inside or just outside the facility. Banks also have a foreign exchange desk where you can find someone who speaks English and can change your foreign notes.
Quite a few of them have ATMs. Good for grabbing a sandwich, a cup of coffee and some Taiwan currency too.
As in the rest of the world, the largest hotels can change your foreign currency. Unless it is an emergency, avoid to change at a hotel because of the inconvenient rate. Some large business hotels, as the Windsor Hotel in Taichung, might have a bank in their premises.
Because of the large number of foreign workers, Western Union has several branches in Taiwan. It can be used to receive money from home. You can check for Taiwan branches here.
Taiwan Currency Tips
- You have to look for an ATM showing stickers of the different international networks, such as Cirrus, Visa Plus, etc. Not all the ATMs can provide cash advances to foreign cards.
- Good places for the “right” ATM are the large shopping malls, such as Mitsukoshi and Top City. Look also for “convenience stores” as 7/11, Family Mart, etc.
- Some international banks have their own branches and ATMs in Taiwan, such as Citibank and HSBC.
- ATMs in Taiwan offers a lot more of functions than in Europe. They are used for money transfers too. So, if the person ahead of you is taking a lot of time is probably because she is making a payment.
- ATMs in Taiwan normally have daily and monthly limit to how much money you can withdraw. These limits are normally 20,000 NTD a day. But they can be lower for foreign cards and, especially, lower than your bank daily or monthly limit. The problem is also that you will not probably receive any warning or explanation. So if your credit card apparently does not work any more, just try with a different bank ATM.
- Don’t be afraid of the Chinese language. All Taiwan ATMs are bilingual (English and Mandarin).
- The import limit for Taiwan currency is 100,000 NTD. The limit for the other currencies is the equivalent of 10,000 US dollars. You can import more but in that case you have to fill a declaration to the custom officers.
- Taiwan currency can be normally exchanged in East Asia but not in Europe or North America. So don’t forget to change your Taiwanese notes, before leaving Taiwan, unless you want to keep them as a souvenir.