Chinese banks' increase of transaction fees draws public concern

08:58, July 29, 2010      

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Several Chinese commercial banks raised their cross-bank same-city automatic teller machine (ATM) withdrawal fees earlier this month, triggering opposition among bankcard holders.

China's big-four banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, lifted the cross-bank same-city ATM withdrawal fee from 2 yuan to 4 yuan in some Chinese cities.

The new fee applies in the cities of Guangzhou and Tianjin but not in Beijing and Shanghai.

Other commercial lenders, including the Bank of Communications and Guangdong Development Bank, also raised their cross-bank withdrawal fee in the same way.

Some citizens oppose the fee increase.

"A two yuan transaction fee is acceptable to me, but double that is too much," an Agricultural Bank of China customer told Xinhua Monday.

An online survey conducted by Chinese website portal Sina.com showed that 88 percent of respondents think the raised fee is exploitative and will have a negative impact on the cross-bank withdrawal business.

"The adjustment was officially approved by the relevant departments. It is not some random fee increase," the Construction Bank of China told Xinhua Monday.

A China Association of Banks spokesman said Monday fee adjustments should be based on market forces, adding that the cross-bank withdrawal fee increase was justifiable and legal because the banks approved the increase after careful consideration.

Chinese banks had long complained cross-bank withdraw charges had not covered their operational costs.

Guo Tianyong, head of the China Banking Research Center at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said intermediary business service charges have increased repeatedly in recent years.

He noted banks in China enjoy a monopolistic-like status, putting customers at a disadvantage.

"Service charges should be rigorously evaluation by relevant regulators or an independent third party, instead of being set by the banks alone," said Guo.

Source: Global Times

(Editor:祁澍文)

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