Taiwan credit card spending hit new high in 2019

Presenters showcase Taiwan agricultural products during a live shopping broadcast on Feb. 15, 2020. (CNA)
Presenters showcase Taiwan agricultural products during a live shopping broadcast on Feb. 15, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Credit card spending in Taiwan in 2019 hit a new record high at a time when more and more local consumers prefer non-cash payment methods, according to the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC).

Data compiled by the FSC, the top financial regulator in Taiwan showed credit card holders spent NT$3.22 trillion (US$107 billion) in the 12 month period. The latest credit card spending figure was 11.76 percent higher than the previous high in 2018.

Chuang Shiu-yuan (莊琇媛), deputy director of the FSC’s Banking Bureau, credit card issuing banks are keen to launch promotional campaigns and are giving more cash rebates or discounts to encourage consumers to spend more on their credit cards.

In addition, more and more shops and vendors in Taiwan have started to accept credit cards, which encourages consumers to spend, Chuang said.

In December alone, credit card spending in Taiwan totaled NT$290.9 billion, up NT$29.3 billion from a month earlier, the data showed.

In the month, Cathay United Bank took the top spot, with consumers spending NT$55.92 billion using credit cards issued by the bank, ahead of CTBC Bank with credit card spending at NT$43.2 billion, and E. Sun Commercial Bank with NT$38.69 billion, the data indicated.

The FSC said Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank ranked as the largest credit card issuer in December, issuing more than 300,000 cards in the month, followed by E. Sun Bank with 114,600 cards and CTBC Bank with about 81,000 cards.

As of December, a total of 47.39 million credit cards had been issued by 33 banks in Taiwan, up 0.64 percent from a month earlier and also up 7.63 percent from a year earlier, the FSC said.

Amid the increase in credit card issuance, the FSC said, the non-performing ratio of the 33 banks in terms of credit card spending stood at 0.21 percent on average as of the end of December, up 0.01 percentage points from a month earlier. The bad loan ratio fell 0.01 percentage points in December from a year earlier, the FSC said.

Although credit card spending is rising, most consumers are clearly still able to pay their credit card bills on time, thereby keeping the bad loan ratio stable.