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China to start review on commercial prepaid card issuance

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BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- China will start a nationwide review on the issuance of commercial prepaid cards from Aug. 20 to Oct. 30, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

The review will cover big shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants, beauty salons, bath centers and chain enterprises with large issuance of prepaid cards, to see whether the issuers comply with the country's regulations, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Commerce authorities at all levels should establish a list of major local issuers, the statement said.

An unknown number of commercial gift cards are issued every year as a means of payment for various goods and services in China.

The State Council, or China's cabinet, said in a document issued in May that it has urged authorities to step up their efforts to regulate commercial gift cards in order to prevent money laundering and tax evasion.

According to current regulations, issuers of gift cards must register the identities of the cards' purchasers if they purchase more than 10,000 yuan (1,500 U.S. dollars) in cards.

In addition, the face value of cards that do not bear the names of their owners must be below 1,000 yuan, while the face value of cards bearing the names of their owners must not exceed 5,000 yuan.

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