Bank card sector to see growth

CHINA aims to accelerate the development of its fledgling bank card industry in the coming few years, in a bid to promote the use of plastic cards to help improve efficiency of the economy, enhance the transparency of transactions and increase spending.  

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, said on Thursday the nation's robust economic growth is providing a favourable environment for an acceleration of the industry, while the wide application of information technology in the financial sector at a local level has laid a solid technical basis.  

The anticipated foreign rivalry at the end of 2006, when foreign banks will be allowed into renminbi bank card business as part of China's World Trade Organisation commitments, also makes a faster development of the industry an urgent task.  

“China's bank card industry stands at a critical juncture,” Xu Luode, director-general of the central bank's Payment and Settlement Department, said.  

The central bank is stepping up work on drafting a new bank card regulation, which will require approval from the State Council to provide legal backup for the industry's healthy growth.  

“The regulation has been put on the State Council's work list for this year and will, hopefully, be endorsed by the end of the year,” Xu said. The central bank is working with other government agencies to draw up a blueprint and formulate favourable policies for the industry, and is studying ways to better coordinate the interests of card issuers, cardholders, merchants and third party intermediaries, he said. – China Daily  

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