China's Closer Supervision Of Unionpay Could Have Consequences

Macau Monetary Authority confirms it will be watching pawn shop transactions closely

Moves to beef up supervision of the use of China UnionPay cards in Macau pawn shops – long believed to be a workaround on China's stringent currency controls by gamblers – could prove to be another blow to the struggling gambling island, say industry observers.
The Macau Monetary Authority has just confirmed that it is to boost supervision on the cards in line with mainland government directions, focusing on real-time monitoring of mainland bank cards at high-risk merchants, with the first phase targeting merchants near casinos, which are mainly jewellery and watch shops.
"The real-time monitoring system will be extended to other high-risk merchants selling high-value products in the second phase," a spokesman for the Authority said, revealing that the monitoring system has been designed "…to verify the genuine relationship between card holder and the bank card in the process of acquiring goods or services in order to protect the lawful rights and interests of cardholders, merchants and banks."
The MMA has additionally requested Macau banks to implement more thorough due diligence, ongoing monitoring and better training for merchants, along with the regular submission of information on high-risk merchants and timely notifications regarding suspicious transactions.
The mass and premium mass market in Macau is expected to be mainly impacted by the crackdown, impairing the access of cash through local pawn shops, several analysts predicted.

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