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Singapore to OK Chinese debit card use
Updated: 2005-01-12 09:39

In a first, Chinese visitors will be able to use their bank debit cards in Singapore, thanks to an agreement signed Tuesday between Singapore electronic payment company NETS and China's China Union Pay.

The agreement makes Singapore the first country to accept debit cards issued by Chinese banks for purchases and cash withdrawals outside of China. It follows a rapid increase in the numbers of Chinese coming to Singapore, now more than 600,000 per year.

Chinese who come into Singapore can now use their debit cards at 31 merchants and 700 automated teller machines island-wide. Transactions are free, but withdrawals are limited to about $600 per day.

NETS chief executive officer, Poh Mui Hoon, said Singaporeans will also be able to use their debit cards in China by the second half of the year. Poh told reporters that NETS expected to conclude similar agreements with other foreign partners by the end of the year, but gave no details.

The agreement with China also provides NETS with access to a cardholder base of more than 300 million people _75 times the size of the Singapore market.

"It is widely recognized that China is a country with greatest potential for the bank card industry," said Xu Luode, director-general of the payment department of the People's Bank of China.

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