China’s central bank executed a nationwide campaign against retailers refusing to take physical cash during 2018, The Financial Times (FT) reported, with perpetrators subject to an education programme on correct procedure.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) identified a number of cases of merchants refusing to accept physical renminbi currency in favour of mobile payment systems, which are becoming increasingly popular in the country.

In comments reported by the FT, a spokesperson for PBoC said 558 of the 602 cases investigated had been resolved by “policy communication” and “criticism-based education”.

Additionally, in July the regulator issued a reminder to retailers that refusing to take the national currency in physical cash was illegal. The warning was reiterated in early December in response to some locations advertising outlets as cash free.

China is widely considered to be the world’s largest market for mobile retail payments, with Ant Financial-owned Alipay and brands from internet company Tencent leading the sector.