MasterCard, ru­ral co-op­er­a­tives in Zhe­jiang launch credit card

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - ByWUYIYAO in Shang­hai wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

MasterCard Inc and Ru­ral Credit Co­op­er­a­tives in Zhe­jiang prov­ince have jointly launched the Feng­shou Card, the first ru­ral credit card is­sued by pro­vin­cial co­op­er­a­tives in China, in a move they said fur­ther ad­vances fi­nan­cial in­no­va­tion and in­clu­sive fi­nan­cial ser­vices in the coun­try­side.

The State Coun­cil in Jan­uary promised to make bank­ing and lend­ing ser­vices more in­clu­sive, mean­ing mak­ing them more ac­ces­si­ble to or­di­nary peo­ple, es­pe­cially in re­mote ar­eas.

The first Feng­shou card, or lit­er­ally Har­vest Card, was is­sued in Yiwu in the prov­ince.

Yiwu is a hub of small com­modi­ties trad­ing of more than 12,000 per­ma­nent for­eign res­i­dents from all over the world, and more than 30,000 Chi­nese traders who fre­quently travel in­ter­na­tion­ally and who need process pay­ments ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Yiwu Daily.

Pro­vid­ing in­clu­sive fi­nan­cial ser­vices has been one of the MasterCard’s busi­ness fo­cuses in the China mar­ket, the com­pany said.

The pay­ments and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies plan to in­tro­duce more di­ver­si­fied so­lu­tions to card­hold­ers in var­i­ous seg­ments, said MasterCard. These will en­able card­hold­ers in ru­ral ar­eas and ru­ral small and medium-sized en­ter­prises to com­plete pay­ments and trans­ac­tions in a con­ve­nient, safe and rapid man­ner, said MasterCard’s China head Chang Qing.

Card­hold­ers in China are in­creas­ingly trav­el­ing fol­low­ing the launch of theBeltandRoad­Ini­tia­tive, and­go­ing global for busi­ness ex­pan­sion, he said.

MasterCard sees great po­ten­tial in theChi­nese mar­ket and is de­ploy­ing a lot of re­sources in the Chi­nese main­land, Chang said.

“In­clu­sive fi­nan­cial ser­vices of­fer great po­ten­tial for mar­ket play­ers, and there are many gaps to be filled be­tween card­hold­ers’ needs and the cur­rent of­fer­ings of ser­vices providers. MasterCard has been work­ing with the RCCs of sev­eral prov­inces, and more prod­ucts will be launched to pop­u­lar­ize credit card ser­vices, giving more ru­ral card­hold­ers smooth pay­ments and trans­ac­tion ex­pe­ri­ences when they travel abroad,” he added.

Credit cards is­sued by the RCCs may help their seg­ment to im­prove their fi­nan­cial ser­vices and ful­fill cur­rently un­met card­holder de­mands, said a cir­cu­lar from the China Bank­ing Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion.

An­a­lysts said pay­ment ser­vices providers who can en­hance their credit card ser­vices for ru­ral card­hold­ers will gain a com­pet­i­tive edge in the fu­ture, as this part of the mar­ket has a great po­ten­tial for growth.

“Credit card ser­vices are ac­tu­ally un­der­rep­re­sented in ru­ral ar­eas in terms of qual­ity, quan­tity and de­vel­oped ser­vices com­pared to that in ur­ban ar­eas,” said apay­ment­mar­ket re­search re­port from Bei­jing-based Bosi Data Re­search Cen­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Peo­ple’s Bank of China, the cen­tral bank, about 457 mil­lion debit cards were is­sued in 2015 to some 930 mil­lion ru­ral res­i­dents, while only 27.5 mil­lion credit cards were is­sued in the same year.

Credit cards have been used in China for more than 30 years with a his­tory of sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment. In the next few years, said an­a­lysts, more change is to come.

Dig­i­tal­iza­tion, mo­bile pay­ments and more in­no­va­tion will help ac­cel­er­ate the ad­vance of the sec­tor, and more in­clu­sive and tai­lored-made ser­vices will be pro­vided to card­hold­ers, bring­ing them an evolv­ing pay­ment sys­tem, said Dong Zheng, credit card ex­pert and ed­i­tor-inchief at 51credit.com.

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