Prepaid-card users hope for better regulation: survey

BEIJING - More than 80 percent of respondents surveyed recently by the China Youth Daily newspaper said they have used prepaid cards for making consumer purchases, while almost 90 percent believed it imperative to further regulate the market.

The survey polled 2,021 respondents -- nearly half born in the 1990s and about 35 percent born in the 1980s.

Wang Xiaoshan, who works in a financial enterprise in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi'an, said she used a prepaid card for washing her car.

"It would normally cost me 40 yuan (about $6.2) for a single carwash. With the prepaid card, it's only 20 yuan per time, which is a lot cheaper," she said.

However, Wang admitted that sometimes using prepaid cards can cause her problems.

According to the survey, when using prepaid cards, 48 percent of the respondents said they have encountered situations where the merchant refused to refund the fee after the issuance of the card. Meanwhile, 47.5 percent said they cannot use their prepaid money if they lose the original card.

Wang said that she once lost her carwash prepaid card and the merchant refused to issue another one, despite having her information.

The respondents gave some suggestions on regulating the market. More than 63 percent suggested that consumers should increase their awareness of rights protection, while about 60 percent called for improving related laws and regulations and blacklisting untrustworthy enterprises.