Is the number of credit card owners in China set to rise?
Clearly there is room for an increase in the number of credit card owners, though interest rate constraints and lack of mature credit verification and collection systems are hindering the industry's development. Poor standardization and cooperation among China's major banks also adds to the problems faced in attempts to increase the number of credit card owners. Dozens of bankcard brands compete in the market, and ATMs of one bank rarely accept cards from a competitor bank. But the recent transformation of the decade-old "Golden Card" project (established to create a unified national payment system) into a commercial entity known as the China UnionPay Co. (UnionPay) is making real progress. UnionPay is now instituting a system whereby banks operating in China pay royalties to join the network and issue cards using the network's logo. Foreign credit card companies have been left out of the network process to date, in what is a clear attempt to keep the nation's banking network under domestic control.