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Migrant Workers Reach 2 Bln Yuan in Bank Card Transactions

The transaction volume of special bank cards for migrant workers has reached two billion yuan (US$250 million), just over a year after the card service was launched, China Union Pay announced on Sunday.


Under the guidance of the People's Bank of China, Chinese commercial banks, postal deposits, and rural financial institutions began providing special bank cards to migrant workers in December 2005 and the service has now expanded to 12 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities.


The bank cards enable migrant workers to deposit money in accounts in the cities in which they work and withdraw money from branches of the rural credit cooperatives near their homes in rural areas.


China has more than 100 million migrant workers who bring back their earnings to their hometowns every year. However, an inadequate rural remittance system fails to provide convenient, safe, and rapid money transfer, which results in many of them being forced to carry cash on the journey home.


The central bank asked all Chinese banks that issue debit cards to reduce the service charge from one percent to 0.8 percent for cash withdrawals by migrant workers starting Feb. 1, 2007. The ceiling charge for each transaction has been lowered from 50 yuan to 20 yuan.


China Union Pay is a joint-stock financial service institution founded by more than 80 domestic banks and financial institutions in March 2002. The Shanghai-based institution has a registered capital of 1.65 billion yuan.


( March 26, 2007)

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