Two Private Banks Announce End of Cash Operations with Approval of Chinese Authorities

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Two of China’s privately operated banks have publicly announced the permanent suspension of cash receipt and payment operations after cinching approval from financial regulators, as the digital transformation of the Chinese banking sector accelerates.

At the end of January Beijing Zhongguancun Bank (北京中关村银行) announced that it had obtained approval from regulatory authorities to end its cash receipt and payment operations starting from 1 April 2022. This will include related counter-operations at brick-and-mortar premises as well as via the bank’s ATM’s.

Zhongguancun said that following the suspension of cash operations, its customers will still be able to use its mobile app and physical branches to handle all other operations with the exception of cash receipt and payments.

The announcement arrives not long after Liaoning Zhenxing Bank (辽宁振兴银行) announced that it would suspend counter and ATM cash operations after obtaining approval from the Chinese central bank, starting from 1 March 2022.

The ongoing digital transformation of the Chinese banking sector has led to a sharp-rise in off-the-counter and mobile banking transactions.

In 2020 the off-counter transactions of Chinese banking sector financial institutions totalled 370.872 billion, for a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 14.59%, according to figures from China Banking Association (CBA).

Mobile banking transactions totalled 191.946 billion, for a YoY rise of 58.04%.