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In nod to seniors, city resumes offline payments


Payment via phones may be second nature for the "digital generation," but for senior citizens it's not as easy as it seems.

Payment via phones may be second nature for the "digital generation," but for senior citizens it's not as easy as it seems.

An 80-year-old Shanghai native surnamed She recently filed a request for help to make digital payments for household bills after he found the offline payment channels were all closed at the end of last year.

"I used to go to the nearby convenience store to pay bills for water, electricity and gas, and they told me most people now pay online and they canceled the business," She said. "I was at a loss and asked what to do if I can't pay by phone – my phone is designed for seniors and isn't a smartphone. They told me I should ask my children for help, but I don't have children."

With the help of warm-hearted neighbors, She managed to pay his bills for the first two months of this year but still hoped for a long-term solution. He wrote a letter to the city government asking for help.

"I know the world is moving forward and we should try to catch up, but for me, it is too difficult," She said.

According to this year's city government work report, Shanghai is striving to accelerate the development of a smart city facilitated by digital transformation. However, it also makes common prosperity an important issue, promising to actively respond to people's varied needs.

"We will continue to improve the quality of public services and satisfy people's needs for a better life," Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng said when he delivered the government report in January.

She's letter was well received by the local government. To address his problem, which is likely a concern for many other seniors, government officials held several meetings with pertinent businesses, including convenient stores, post offices and banks, and decided to restore offline payment channels.

People can now go to more than 4,400 convenience stores and post offices across the city to make payments for water, electricity and gas. Moreover, three city-level banks will soon resume such payment services in 743 of their branches.

The cost will be shared by related companies in the name of corporate social responsibility.

Shanghai is often lauded as a city of warmth, and this resumption of offline payment service, although seemingly trivial, well demonstrates how the voice of every city resident is heard and cared about.

Liu Qi

Authors from Austria: Liu Qi!

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