China to assist foreign visitors by simplifying bank card binding with domestic payment system

Online payment app Illustration: VCG

Illustration: VCG

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) vowed on Friday to further accelerate optimization of the payment environment for foreign visitors with the assistance of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.

It was a quick move after a guideline released by the State Council, the cabinet, earlier this month that called for more effective and more convenient payment services for foreign visitors.

Shi Zeyi, an official with the MCT, said during a press conference that the process for binding foreign visitors’ bank cards to the domestic mobile payment system is complex, which is the major problem at the moment. However, there are digital wallet products in both domestic and foreign markets and it is feasible for them to be connected, Shi noted.

“Mobile phone-based mobile payment systems have become popular in China and nearly all daily life needs can be addressed with a mobile phone,” he said. But the mobile payment system in some foreign countries is still developing, making payment in China less convenient for foreign visitors.

The MCT is now conducting research with payment companies and platforms to resolve technical issues and is also making efforts to reduce the required registration information when foreign visitors bind their bank cards, as well as raising the limits for mobile payment.

In the first two months of this year, the entry and exit of foreigners to and from China reached 2.95 million, an increase of 2.3 times from the previous period and equivalent to 41.5 percent of the volume before the pandemic, said the MCT.

During the Spring Festival holidays, visitors from countries that have a visa-free policy with China, including France, Germany, Malaysia and Singapore, saw a significant increase.

Global Times