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Foreigners Visiting China Are Increasingly Stumped By Its Cashless Society

Published by Slashdot on Sun, 17 Nov 2019


"Technically, it's illegal for Chinese merchants to refuse payment in cash, but this rule is hardly ever enforced," writes BoingBoing, "and China has been sprinting to a cashless society that requires mobile devices -- not credit-cards -- to effect payments, even to street hawkers." ttyler (Slashdot reader #20,687) shares their report:This has lots of implications for privacy, surveillance, taxation, and fairness, but in the short term, the biggest impact is on visitors to China, who are increasingly unable to buy anything because they lack Chinese payment apps like Wechat, and even when they install them, the apps' support for non-Chinese bank accounts and credit cards is spotty-to-nonexistent. This is also affecting Chinese people, of course: some elderly people who have been slow to embrace mobile devices are finding themselves frozen out of the system, offering cash to passersby to buy them goods from vending machines. There are also refuseniks who are equally locked out. Tourists are increasingly corralled into guided tours, with paid guides who make purchases on their behalf. The Wall Street Journal provides an amusing example: In a bathroom near the Great Wall recently, Catherine De Witte, a Belgian marketing consultant, was getting frustrated. She waved her hands in front of a high-tech toilet-paper dispenser, jammed her fingers into the slot and finally pounded on the machine. She wasn't amused when she saw the QR code. "You really need the restroom, and the restroom only gives you toilet paper if you can do something strange with your phone," she fumed.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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