Visitors to benefit from payments revamp

Promoting acceptance of foreign bank cards, cash, mobile spending also intended to better protect consumer rights

By LIU ZHIHUA and ZHOU LANXU | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-10 10:34
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Visitors purchase cashmere products through mobile payment methods during the 20th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, in September. [Photo/China Daily]

China is expected to intensify efforts to facilitate a seamless payment mechanism for foreigners and the elderly, and create a more friendly, inclusive and multichannel payment environment, said experts and business leaders.

This is not only part of the country's continued opening-up endeavor, but is also conducive to improving the payment infrastructure so as to accelerate the building of a unified domestic market, as well as boosting consumption and people's livelihoods, they said.

The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, and the Beijing municipal government jointly held a meeting on March 28 to enhance payment services, as part of the country's strong push to simplify the payment process for foreign visitors and improve the business climate.

This came after the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a guideline that coordinated the efforts of various authorities on improving payment services and enhancing payment convenience on March 7, in order to better meet the diversified payment needs of the elderly and foreign visitors.

The guideline, approved by the State Council executive meeting on Feb 23, called for coordinated efforts among authorities to promote the acceptance of foreign bank cards, guarantee the use of cash, improve mobile payment convenience, and further protect consumer rights while choosing payment methods and optimizing account services.

The PBOC has outlined a timetable and roadmap for putting in place the relevant measures since then.

On March 14, the PBOC released a payment guide, which provides foreigners with text and graphic instructions on using bank cards, cash, mobile payment and e-CNY in China.

No identification is required for transactions below a certain amount when foreigners use mobile payments such as Alipay, Weixin Pay and UnionPay. Some international e-wallets, such as Thailand's True-Money, and Naver Pay, which are used frequently in South Korea, will be directly accepted by many merchants in China. Foreigners can also open bank accounts with passports or other valid IDs at major banks such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

During a meeting on March 15, the PBOC also called on financial institutions in Shanghai to accelerate efforts and amplify resources to achieve more progress in facilitating foreign bank card acceptance, cash usage, mobile payments and bank account services.

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