China Unionpay credit card payments totaled 15.2 trillion yuan last year, according to the latest report from the China Banking Association.
Over the course of 2014, approximately 64 million new China UnionPay credit cards were issued, bringing the total in circulation to 460 million.
The report also highlighted a number of rising risks within the domestic credit card landscape, notably the increase in late payment, up 42% in 2014 compared with 2013.
China’s domestic multi-trillion yuan bank card clearing market has been monopolised by UnionPay, since the founding of the national bank card association back in 2002. Since then it has been the sole company granted permission by the country’s central bank to operate bank card clearing and transactional services.
In a bid to gradually open up the market and bring in competition, China’s State Council announced a number of regulations back in April that foreign banks would have to comply to if they wanted to enter the market to provide bank card clearing services.
Foreign banks were for the first time allowed to conduct their own bank card clearing services in China, provided they had a standard bank card clearing system and registered capital of no less than one billion yuan.