A total of 391 million credit cards had been issued in China as of end-2013, up 18 percent year on year and translating to 0.29 card for every person on the mainland, NetEase Finance said in its 2014 Credit Report, citing central bank data.
The combined credit on the cards amounted to 4.57 trillion yuan (US$730.2 billion), or 11,700 yuan per card, according to the third annual report.
However, as consumer use has grown so too have overdue payments. According to the report, a total of 25.19 billion yuan was at least six months overdue as of Dec. 31, up 71.86 percent, or 10.53 billion yuan, from a year earlier.
While 31.98 percent of Chinese cardholders have just one credit card and 17.38 percent have up to three, a NetEase survey found that 2.3 percent had more than 10. Half those surveyed stuck to one card, suggesting high user loyalty.
Most people have between 10,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan in available credit, and 1.18 percent have access to more than 500,000 yuan.
China Construction Bank Corp. (00939.HK) surpassed China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd. (03968.HK, 600036.CN) and became the second-largest card issuer last year, trailing only Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (01398.HK, 601398.CN), which had issued 88 million credit cards by the end of last year.
In terms of service, China Merchants Bank was voted the best by more than 30,000 people surveyed online between April and May, while US-based Citibank was last.
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