Visa Taiwan Co Ltd (台灣威士卡) yesterday teamed up with seven domestic banks to launch limited-edition Tokyo Olympic Games credit cards to create momentum for its local operations.

As Visa Inc is the exclusive payment partner of the Olympic Games, which it has sponsored since 1986, only credit cards issued by Visa are accepted at the sporting event, country manager Marco Ma (麻少華) told a news conference in Taipei.

As many Taiwanese are expected to be interested in traveling to Tokyo to watch next year’s Olympics, the new credit cards would offer cardholders special discounts or rewards at Japanese shops and tourist attractions, Ma said.

Although local consumers still have to pay a 1.5 percent handling fee for overseas purchases, most banks are expected to offer them cash rewards or benefits with rates higher than 1.5 percent, with some as high as 3 percent, to boost credit card spending, he said.

For example, if a cardholder spends NT$1,000 in Japan, they would need to pay a NT$15 handling fee, but they would receive a cash reward of up to NT$30, he said.

“People used to think that they must exchange New Taiwan dollars to Japanese yen before traveling to Japan, but they might lose a bit due to fluctuations in the exchange rate. Using credit cards would be more convenient and safer,” Ma said.

The banks offering the new credit cards are Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank Ltd (上海商業儲蓄銀行), E.Sun Bank (玉山銀行), Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行), Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行), Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行), Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行) and Shin Kong Commercial Bank (新光銀行).

Each bank’s cards have a different design, so consumers would not be confused, but they all feature the Olympic icon, the five linked rings.

Shin Kong said that it would encourage consumers to spend and save money with the bank by giving higher deposit rates to cardholders based on how much they spend.