The long lines in front of ATM machines have now become a rare sight as Chinese consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to complete transactions, instead of making cash payments, according to a report from China Daily. Many people claim they can’t even recall when they used cash the last time.
Instead of visiting physical branch locations, Chinese consumers, particularly the younger generations, are using their mobile phones and computers to perform digital transactions.
Available data reveals that the number of ATMs declined by around 68,600 from the end of 2019 to September 2020. Meanwhile, 2,790 commercial bank branches were closed down during the first 11 months of this year. Over 6,280 branches have also been shut down during the past couple years.
These changes are an example of the nation’s efforts to encourage the use of all-digital Fintech apps which have greatly enhanced China’s digital economy. Moreover, the demand for contactless payments has surged following the COVID-19 outbreak – which has made it unsafe to use physical currency notes (since they could be contaminated).
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