Ready cash for elderly people

THE Hong Kong Monetary Authority (香港金融管理局) is looking into the possibility of letting elderly people take money out at convenience stores and supermarkets without making a purchase.

The service is needed because there is a lack of banking services in some places as banks do not appear enthusiastic in maintaining many outlets in less affluent districts or remote areas.

The authority is discussing with the retailers on the feasibility of such an arrangement, which will be easier to put in place if the cost is shared by the regulator and the banks. “We are still studying how to let the elderly make withdrawals without spending any money,” the authority said.

People can now make bank withdrawals through the ‘Easy Cash’ service under EPS at more than 2,500 outlets but the service is only for shoppers who make a purchase.

The move comes amid criticisms about the shortage of bank outlets at new towns such as Tin Shui Wai (天水圍) and Sha Tin (沙田). A recent HKMA paper to the Legislative Council noted that over 10 public housing estates do not have a bank within walking distance.

Lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung (張超雄) wants the Legislative Council’s Panel on Financial Affairs (立法會財經事務委員會) to put the problem, which has the greatest impact on disadvantaged groups, on its agenda.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 4 January 2017)

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