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CARDS & PAYMENTS | Cesar Tordesillas, China
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Chinese stores urge for less bank card-swipe fees

The China Chain Store and Franchise Association urged the government to cut bank card-swipe fees charged to merchants.

"China's retail sales growth has slowed from a year earlier, so the government should step up the implementation of the plan with a view of promoting consumption," said Secretary-General of the CCFA Pei Liang. He noted that a proposal for cutting card-swipe charges issued by authorities is currently seeking opinion from commercial banks.

At present, fees charged to supermarkets and stores for transactions made with bank cards range from 0.5 percent to 1 percent of the transaction value.

Transactions made with bank cards are growing at an annual rate of 30 percent, and bank card transactions currently make up 35 percent of all supermarket transactions and more than 60 percent of all sales in stores, according to a survey conducted by the CCFA.

However, the operational costs of merchants are growing at an annual rate of more than 15 percent and their average profit margin is around 2 percent, according to the survey.

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