Depositors in several provinces and cities across China, including Beijing, have been complaining about their frozen bank cards for no reason over the past week. 

Bank customers could only deposit money into accounts they could not withdraw. Online transactions were also restricted, seriously affecting their work and life. 

Mainland media Securities Daily reported on July 18 that several bank account managers admitted that major banks have recently strengthened their supervision of bank card activities. 

The procedure is applied nationwide, not just in a particular bank. Therefore, the “frozen card” issue has recently caught the public’s eyes. 

These bank managers have named the supervision procedure a so-called control measure to combat online gambling and money laundering. 

Abnormal activities, including any large-amount fund transfer, low-account activity, or abnormal transactions, are also the main focus of the banning procedure.

The report further claims that if the account is not faulty but the card is frozen, then the cardholder can apply for unlocking at the bank’s national branches.

However, many cases have exposed the report’s opposite. Many merchants and depositors found their cards frozen without conducting any abnormal transactions. In addition, the applying procedures for card unblocking are quite complicated. 

Li from Hunan province told Sina on July 13 that the local bank branch in Hunan had rejected his unblocking request. The bank in Hunan told him to go to the Hainan branch, where he must repay a loan in time before applying for an unblocking request here. 

As a result, Li has asked his company to leave several times, traveling back and forth between Hunan and Hainan. Li said that he had to submit relevant information from week to week and spend thousands of yuan traveling back and forth between two places. 

Meanwhile, the Postal Bank asked a depositor named Zhao to write down his card’s all money source in detail as he applied for the unblocking request. The requirements sent him in shock. 

Zhao said in desperation, “How can I remember what happened two or three years ago?”

The recent fraud scheme of four rural banks in Henan, along with insufficient reserves, debts of tens of trillions of yuan, and top-position personnel changes, have concerned depositors. Many questions about whether it is safe to store money in a bank. 

The freezing of bank cards further makes depositors attribute the reason to the bank’s long-term debt operation and insufficient funds. 

In addition, the recent wave of “suspending loans and supplying supplies” by unfinished buildings’ victim owners has resulted in a tightening of banks’ monetary base. Many people suspect that banks use the so-called “anti-money laundering” as an excuse to freeze cards, then conceal the cash flow shortage. 

Zhang Jianping, a commentator from Yixing, Jiangsu, told Radio Free Asia that banks might be deliberately creating panic to squeeze private capital into the real estate market. 

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