Online payment transactions handled by Chinese payment service providers totalled 830 trillion yuan (CNY) last year, equivalent to around US$134.3trn, according to an industry report showing the latest available figures published by the Payment and Clearing Association of China (PCAC).
The report shows that Chinese banks handled 19.2 billion online payment transactions in 2012 amounting to CNY823trn. A further 10.46bn online payment transactions, worth CNY6.89trn, were handled by other payment agencies to give the total figure.
Online payment transactions in China are being used not only in traditional areas, such as online shopping and bill-paying, but also in areas related to education, tourism, fund products, insurance, community services and medical and health services, the report stated. Traditional banking services, such as branch or online accounts, are being used for these payments in the main but the mobile channel is also contributing towards the total.
However, experts observed that the increasing variety of payment tools in China has caused problems concerning the safety of funds and customer information, and the PCAC report calls for improved regulation and supervision.
“The payment business is closely linked with people's daily lives, so customers will be less tolerant of risks,” said PCAC's deputy secretary-general Kang Lin.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has so far approved 197 non-financial institutions (FIs) to provide payment services in China, of which 72 are eligible for online payment business, PCAC data showed.
The association said that mobile payments, or online payments made through mobile phones, totalling CNY2.31trn were handled by banks in 2012, as well as CNY181.2bn in transactions handled by non-bank payment service providers.