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Payments made easier for foreign visitors, expats

Updated: 2024-05-10 09:58 ( China Daily )
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Spanish teachers rehearse a cross-talk performance at the College of Foreign Languages in Nankai University, Tianjin, in December. LI RAN/XINHUA

Payments made easy

With the support of local government, PBOC's Dalian branch has set out a plan to promote the development and use of various payment methods, including mobile payments and bank cards, to better meet the needs of foreign visitors as well as the elderly.

The plan came after the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a guideline on March 7 on coordinating the efforts of various authorities to improve payment services and make them more convenient.

On March 14, the PBOC released a payment guide, which instructs foreigners through text and graphics on how to use bank cards, cash, mobile payments and e-CNY digital yuan in China.

"I've noticed recently that payment has become increasingly convenient in Dalian, whether it's paying by card, scanning a QR code or using cash," said Igor Popov, who has lived in Dalian for a decade.

"When my friends arrive at the airport, I can take them to places to exchange currencies immediately. At major hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions, foreign visitors can pay with cards bearing the logos of UnionPay, Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, JCB or American Express," he added.

PBOC's Dalian branch has also issued a service guide for the city, to improve multi-language bank account services and ensure that opening an account or handling a complaint is completed within one hour.

"Mobile payment is developing rapidly in China, replacing traditional payment methods such as bank cards and cash. But some elderly residents and foreign visitors might find it inconvenient," Zhu Yan, deputy head of the PBOC Dalian branch, said at a news conference last month.

She said PBOC is establishing payment service centers in key areas of Dalian, such as the airport, and is also setting up demonstration business areas near the Summer Davos Forum venue.

By June 30, point-of-sale terminals across Dalian's key sectors and merchants will be able to accept foreign bank and credit cards, Zhu said. The number of merchants accepting foreign cards is expected to reach 20,000, while all major banks' ATMs in the city will support cash withdrawals made with foreign cards.

With the goal of achieving easy access to subway travel for foreigners, the PBOC Dalian branch has coordinated with local transportation authorities, China UnionPay and other relevant departments and units, to make it possible for foreign cards to be used to buy subway tickets.

China UnionPay said it's aiming to improve the acceptance of foreign bank cards in eight major sectors — food, accommodation, transportation, tourism, shopping, entertainment, medical care and education.

All payment methods, such as cards, QR codes, and mobile payments, will support foreign card purchases at core subway stations, and some taxis will be able to accept foreign card payments.

Bank of China is expanding its cooperation with foreign currency exchange partners from the nine it already has in Dalian.

BOC Dalian branch sources said all of its 99 banking outlets in Dalian can provide foreign currency exchange services. The bank's 233 ATMs in the city can fully support cash withdrawal services for mainstream international bank cards issued abroad, with terminal interfaces available in both Chinese and English.

Wang Gangjian, deputy head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's Dalian branch, said the branch will establish an overseas guests payment service center at Dalian International Airport.

"At the service center, specialized financial service personnel will provide consultation services and promote knowledge on mobile payments, digital RMB payments, and other services to foreign visitors," he said at a news conference earlier this year.

The center will also provide short-term mobile phone cards for foreign visitors and be equipped with foreign currency exchange machines and ATMs that can handle cash withdrawals with foreign cards, said Wang.

In late April, a payment service center for overseas guests was put into operation at the international airport and another at the international cruise ship terminal.

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