Companies, Individuals In China Can’t Discriminate Against Cash

China’s central bank said Friday (July 13) that companies and individuals have to accept cash payments, but that the rule isn’t being applied to online payments or stores that aren’t operated by a person.

According to a report in Reuters, the People’s Bank of China said on its website that “some shops in tourist spots, restaurants and retailers were found rejecting cash payments, and this has damaged the legal status of the renminbi and hurt consumers’ rights.” Internet-based businesses that don’t accept cash won’t have to adhere to the rule, noted the report. With mobile payment adoptions on the part of consumers growing in China, analysts have been warning that cash could go away in the country. Unmanned grocery stores where customers pay with their mobile phones are also increasing in popularity, which puts cash usage at risk.

But it’s not just in their home country where Chinese consumers want to use mobile payments. According to March data from Nielsen, 65 percent of Chinese tourists have used mobile payments to pay abroad — a use rate six times higher than the average cross-border traveler. Specific favored uses include shopping, dining and visiting tourist attractions. And, more impressively, a full 90 percent of Chinese tourists say they would like to use mobile payments abroad, but merchants do not make them fully available. According to the survey, Chinese tourists request to use mobile payments at merchants a full 83 percent of the time. The study also noted that Chinese nationals tend to spend more when given access to mobile payments, and that this trend is likely to grow as the younger generation of tourist shoppers are increasingly insistent on having access to them. According to the study, post-90s generations make 3.3 out of 10 payments via mobile, and 3.7 via card. Post-70s generation shoppers, on the other hand, make 2.3 out of 10 transactions via mobile and 4.9 via card.