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China strengthens scrutiny on overseas bank card transactions

Updated: Jun 2,2017 7:44 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s foreign exchange regulator said on June 2 it will start collecting information on the use of domestically-issued bank cards for overseas cash withdrawals and consumption to fight money laundering.

From Sept 1, banks are required to report all cash withdrawals, as well as deals worth above 1,000 yuan ($146.7) made at brick-and-mortar and online stores, overseas via domestic cards, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

The move is intended to improve transparency and data quality of overseas bank card transactions to meet the demands of international cooperation against money laundering, terror financing and tax base erosions, the SAFE said.

The new rule does not concern any adjustment of forex management policies related to bank cards’ overseas use, the SAFE noted, saying it will continue to support legal and convenient use of domestic cards overseas under the current account.

Transactions made through non-bank payment institutions do not need to be reported, according to a SAFE circular.

It said the SAFE will ensure the security of the card owners’ information, which will be collected every day through an online management system that will go into use on Sept 1.

The SAFE will also share information of people with records of illicit overseas transactions and other illegal behavior to prevent cross-border money laundering and other crime.

Bank cards have become the major tool of overseas payment for Chinese, with overseas transactions by domestic individual card owners exceeding $120 billion in 2016, according to SAFE data.

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