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Press Releases

Quarterly Statistics of Payment Cards Issued in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published today (Wednesday) for the first time quarterly statistics on payment cards issued in Hong Kong.

The payment card statistics (see Annex) include quarterly data on credit and debit cards issued in Hong Kong under the credit and/or debit card schemes of the eight payment card scheme operators. (Note 1) The statistics, covering the period from Q1/2008, are published to enhance transparency of the payment card industry in Hong Kong, in line with international practice.

According to the quarterly figures available, the total number of credit cards in circulation (Note 2) increased steadily over the past two years. The figure rose by 1.5% to 14.7 million in Q1/2010 on a quarter-to-quarter basis. The number and value of credit card transactions (including retail sales and cash advances) (Note 3) are susceptible to seasonal factors and general economic environment, making the trends more prone to fluctuation. Except for a drop in the first quarter of 2009 and 2010, the total number of credit card transactions increased steadily over the past two years. The figure dropped by 2.8% to 87.5 million in Q1/2010, but rose by 6.8% as compared to Q1/2009. A bigger fluctuation in the total value of credit card transactions was noted in the quarterly figures. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, it increased by 12.3% in Q4/2009 and continued to rise by 4.9% in Q1/2010, reaching HK$92.6 billion.

The total number of debit cards in circulation is not available due to overlapping of debit card brands in a single card. (Note 4) Based on the quarterly statistics available, the number and value of debit card transactions in relation to retail sales and bills payments (Note 5) also fluctuated due to seasonal factors. On a quarterly basis, the number of debit card transactions in relation to retail sales and bills payments grew by 1.4% to 26.6 million, while the value increased by 10.1% to HK$49.3 billion in Q1/2010.

Annex

For further enquiries, please contact:
Alice Lo, Communications Chief, at 2878 1480 or
Natalie Wu, Officer (Communications), at 2878 8246

Hong Kong Monetary Authority
23 June 2010

Notes:

  1. The payment card statistics are compiled from data on credit and debit cards issued in Hong Kong by both authorized institutions (AIs) and non-authorized institutions (non-AIs) under the credit and/or debit card schemes of the eight payment card scheme operators ("the card operators"). The card operators, in alphabetical order, are American Express International, Inc., China UnionPay Co. Ltd. (CUP), Diners Club International (HK) Ltd., EPS Company (Hong Kong) Limited (EPSCO), JCB International Co. Ltd., Joint Electronic Teller Services Ltd. (JETCO), MasterCard International Inc. and Visa Hong Kong Limited. Statistics since the first quarter of 2008 are available for comparison purpose.

    The payment card statistics are collected under the Code of Practice for Payment Card Scheme Operators, which was drawn up by the eight card operators and endorsed by the HKMA. For more information on the Code, please see http://www.info.gov.hk/hkma/eng/press/2006/20061214e3.htm.
  2. A credit card issued in Hong Kong only carries one credit card brand. The total number of credit cards in circulation refers to the total number of credit cards (i.e. cards with a credit function) issued in Hong Kong under the credit card schemes of card operators (but excluding EPSCO and JETCO, which do not operate a credit card scheme). Some of these credit cards carry debit card functions, i.e. the credit card can be used for making purchases/payments or cash withdrawal at ATMs through directly debiting cardholders' bank accounts.
  3. The total number/value of credit card transactions refer to the total number/value of transactions made via credit card accounts of credit cards issued in Hong Kong under the credit card schemes of card operators (excluding EPSCO and JETCO).
  4. A debit card may carry more than one debit card brand. For example, a debit card issued under the CUP/MasterCard/Visa debit card scheme may carry both EPS and JETCO functions. Since statistics on the number of debit cards collected from different card operators may overlap, it is therefore not possible to calculate an accurate aggregate total.
  5. The total number/value of debit card transactions in relation to retail sales/bill payments refer to the total number/value of those transactions made via debiting cardholders' bank accounts. Among the eight card operators, some do not operate a debit card scheme.

    Care should be exercised in combining the credit card retail sales figures and the debit card retail sales/bills payment figures because of the possibility of double counting. For example, a cardholder may use a credit card to purchase an item and then pay the credit card bill by a debit payment. This transaction would be included in both the credit card and debit card retail sales figures.
Last revision date: 1 August 2011
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