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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Older bank clients miss passbooks

By Xu Wei and Shi Yingying (China Daily)

09:04, February 21, 2012

BEIJING / SHANGHAI- For many older people like Lu Meiju, bank passbooks have unparalleled advantages over bank cards in convenience and security.

Lu, a 57-year-old Beijing resident, has found herself struggling at ATMs to get cash.

"I don't know how to use it because I can't see the buttons on the machine clearly," Lu said. She added that her intimidation grew when the machine swallowed her bank card last year.

Lu's concern represents the disappointment many felt when the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) stopped issuing new paper deposit books in Beijing and Shanghai, and encouraged customers with savings account books to trade them in for bank cards.

According to the customer service department of ICBC in Beijing, the passbook deposit service was halted in most branches in November as part of the bank's effort for "paperless office work".

Peng Bo, a public relations officer at ICBC's headquarters in Beijing, said the bank still offers pass books to the disabled and people older than 50, but some clients have complained they couldn't apply for a paper bankbook.

"Passbooks for current accounts have not been available for some time, yet those that have been issued are still in use," said a teller named Wang at ICBC's Yandang Road branch in Shanghai.

The change was a problem for many older clients who were used to keeping a track of each transaction and did not know how to use ATMs or Internet banking.

Shanghai resident Yang Hong, 52, who has bank accounts in China Merchants Bank, Bank of China and ICBC, said the change to the bank card made her feel uneasy.

"I used to know each of my transaction records and all my withdrawals were listed one by one in the passbook," she said.

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