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Bank card transaction charges to be cut next year

By Wang Xinyuan (Global Times)

11:03, November 28, 2012

Commercial banks will lower transaction charges for payment by bank cards by up to 37.5 percent next year, a move aimed at helping lower the costs for businesses closely related to consumption, business news portal reported Tuesday.

The bank card payment charges for sectors such as restaurants, hotels and jewelry retailers will be cut the most, dropping by 37.5 percent, next year, according to an internal circular issued to commercial banks by the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, the news report said.

A copy of the document was posted on the news portal's Sina Weibo Tuesday.

Effective from February 25, 2013, the swipe fee rate for these businesses will be reduced to 1.25 percent from the existing level of 2 percent of the payment amount, the report said.

Bank card service charges for department stores, goods distributors, training providers, and tourism sites will be lowered by 22 percent, and charges for supermarkets will fall by 24 percent, according to the document.

The central bank did not reply to the inquiries sent by the Global Times by press time.

"Our costs will be cut substantially if the bank card payment charges are lowered," Cao Jing, spokeswoman for hot pot chain Haidilao, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Shenzhen-listed roast duck restaurant Quanjude and Beijing-based Hunan cuisine chain XE Flavour expect the fee reduction will save them over 1 million yuan a year, according to a report Tuesday on the Sina Weibo of Shanghai Great Wisdom Co, a listed company information service provider.

"I don't think I can feel the difference," Zhang Ning, a white-collar employee and consumer, told the Global Times Tuesday, saying that she does not even know how much the swipe fees are for her bank cards.

While the cut will benefit merchants, it will have a negative impact on banks' card business, a bank staff member told the Global Times Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

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