Consumer Complaints over Cashless Payments Prompt Central Bank Intervention


Widespread complaint over the increasing number of Chinese businesses that refuse to accept payments in cash has prompted intervention on the part of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

A recent survey from Rong360 on offline consumer payment methods found that 11.36% of respondents had met with refusal when attempting to make cash payments, including over 30% of respondents born in the 1950’s.

The issue has prompted PBOC to launch a campaign against refusal to accept cash payments in July, which has since included an investigation into Alibaba’s supermarket venture Hema (盒马鲜生).

The investigation found that in some cases consumers could only use the Hema app to make payments and were unable to complete transactions using cash, with PBOC’s Shanghai office ordering the company to adopt rectification measures including the clear labelling of cash acceptance channels for the convenience of consumers.

“Since the launch of work to rectify refusal to accept cash, a total of 602 cases have bern handled throughout the country,” said a senior official from PBOC’s Shanghai office to China Securities Journal.

“The focal point of rectification measures is administrative and public services, water and power payments, new retail, transportation, food and beverage and tourism sites

“We encourage the harmonious development of pluralised payment methods, which entails both support for the growth of new retail sectors as well as ensuring that cash can be used, to expedite their organic integration and protect the right to free choice of consumers.”