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China ups efforts to better meet payment needs of foreigners, elderly

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2024-03-09

BEIJING -- China on Thursday released a guideline aimed at continuing to optimize payment services of bank cards, promoting cash use and facilitating mobile payment as part of the efforts to better fulfill the diverse payment preferences of foreigners and senior citizens in the country.

Following are the highlights of the guideline:


Noting that most overseas visitors are used to paying with bank cards, the guideline urged efforts to expand the acceptance of bank cards across various settings such as utility payment, medical facilities, tourist attractions and shopping malls.

The acceptance of overseas bank cards would also be broadened as the guideline has encouraged localities to upgrade payment facilities for such cards at key businesses in large business districts, tourist attractions, hotels, hospitals and other locations.

Zhang Qingsong, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, said that the acceptance rate of international bank cards among key businesses in Shanghai and Zhejiang Province has reached 90 percent.


Apart from bank cards, cash is also among the preferred mode of payment for not only overseas travelers but also seniors in the country, despite the increasing prevalence of cashless transactions in China.

The guideline stressed efforts to encourage cash acceptance in transport, shopping, catering, entertainment and other kinds of businesses, as well as to ensure sufficient cash reserves for business owners.

In this regard, Zhang vowed to investigate and penalize instances of vendors rejecting cash, noting that the status of the Chinese currency, renminbi, as legal tender should be guaranteed.

The guideline also underscored efforts to set up more currency exchange counters and facilities, expanding the range of foreign currencies that can be exchanged for renminbi cash at airports, ports, hotels and other locations frequented by overseas visitors.


To address the digital gap among seniors, major mobile payment applications in China have already implemented changes tailored to the elderly, such as streamlining the payment process, increasing font sizes and providing customer services.

In terms of measures to facilitate mobile payment for overseas visitors, Alipay and WeChat Pay, China's two major payment apps, now allow foreign users to link their international cards, including Visa and Mastercard, to their platforms, greatly smoothening the payment processes.

Other measures include a recent directive from the People's Bank of China instructing major payment platforms to increase the single transaction limit from 1,000 U.S. dollars to 5,000 U.S. dollars and the annual cumulative transaction limit from 10,000 U.S. dollars to 50,000 U.S. dollars for overseas travelers using mobile payments. Alipay and Tenpay sources have confirmed that both payment applications have already raised their transaction limits to the specified amounts.