BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The China Chain Store and Franchise Association (CCFA) on Sunday urged the government to pass plans to cut bank card-swipe fees charged to merchants as soon as possible in order to shore up consumption.
Secretary-General of the CCFA Pei Liang told Xinhua that a proposal for cutting card-swipe charges issued by authorities is currently seeking opinion from commercial banks.
"China's retail sales growth has slowed from a year earlier, so the government should step up the implementation of the plan with a view of promoting consumption," Pei said.
Data from the statistics bureau shows the country's retail sales of consumer goods expanded by 13.2 percent year on year in August, down from a rate of 17 percent last August.
At present, fees charged to supermarkets and stores for transactions made with bank cards range from 0.5 percent to 1 percent of the transaction value.
Transactions made with bank cards are growing at an annual rate of 30 percent, and bank card transactions currently make up 35 percent of all supermarket transactions and more than 60 percent of all sales in stores, according to a survey conducted by the CCFA.
However, Chinese merchants are seeing their operational costs growing at an annual rate of more than 15 percent and their average profit margin is around 2 percent, according to the survey.