Chinese Credit Card Issuance Drops in First Half, Delinquency Rates Rise

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Growth in active credit cards in China plunged in the first half of 2019, with a number of major banks seeing a rise in delinquency rates.

As of the end of the first half there were a total of 711 million active credit cards in China for an increase of 25 million, or just 3.5% compared to the start of the year, according to figures from the “2019 Second Quarter Payments System Operations General Circumstances” (2019年第二季度支付体系运行总体情况) released by the Chinese central bank.

By contrast there were a total of 686 million active credit cards in China as of the end of 2018, for a YoY rise of 16.7%, and 588 million as of the end of 2017, for a YoY leap of 26%.

For the first time on record Bank of Communications saw a reduction in active credit cards in the first half, with a drop of approximately 80,000 cards compared to the start of the year.

Bank of Communications’ credit card delinquency rate was 2.49% as of the end of June, for an increase of 0.97 percentage points compared to the start of the year.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank’s credit card delinquency rat was 2.38% as of the end of June, for a rise of 0.57 percentage points over the first quarter.

China Merchants Bank and Ping An Bank posted credit card delinquency rates of 1.3% and 1.37% respectively as of the end of June, for increases of 0.19 and 0.05 percentage points respectively.

China Merchants Bank saw a 33% rise in its delinquent credit card loan balance compared to the start of the year, while for Ping An Bank the increase was 12%.

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