Hey China, Whose Laughing Now That You’re Our Credit Card Bitch

We hear so much in the press about how the U.S. is so indebted to China. But the U.S. is a world leader in the creation of one economic tool, debt.

Typically what seems to happen is credit card marketing and products are created first in the U.S. and spread all around. From what I see, the UK was a rapid adopter of the U.S. credit card products with Capital One and MBNA leading the way.

According to China Daily, it looks like our Chinese friends are now drinking at the credit card teat.

Shao Xiaowei was excited to see the weblink of his micro blog accounts inscribed on his new credit card, the fourth credit card he applied for in the past three months.

“It’s trendy, isn’t it? I need to get another wallet with more card slots – another two more cards are on their way,” said Shao, a 20-year-old college student.

Every co-branded card in Shao’s wallet works to “up-grade my lifestyle and helps save money”, Shao said.

China Europe International Business School announces co-branded card.

Apparently credit cards are pushed at the same places in China that we came to expect in the past in the U.S.

It’s easy to apply for the cards: at college gates, at exits of subway stations, at shopping malls or just click your mouse.

In taxis, subway stations and even in supermarkets, residents in Shanghai are drawn by many advertisements for a dizzying variety of credit cards.

A recent report by China Union Pay said that about 20 percent of all money spent in China was spent using a credit card.

New users (suckers) of credit card usage in China talk about the many advantages of having a credit card. Not only does it make paying easy but it is a symbol of having arrived.

But Chinese consumers are still new at managing their new found credit card friends.

Zhu Yin, a 27-year-old specialist with a call center for the card department at a Shanghai bank, said if users do not understand the basic rules of using cards, it could be most inconvenient.

“Among all the phone calls I receive every day, most of the users complain or inquire about problems with the limit of their credit, said Zhu.

Some users do not remember their credit ceiling and just buy far beyond their budget. They have difficulties paying back the money when it’s due.

“Once they are charged interest for delayed payment or they are given a fine for not returning the money on time, they lose their temper, shouting at me, saying that banks are an evil power that lured them to apply for a card and then chased after them for money,” said Zhu.

Zhu said she feels quite depressed at receiving such calls but all she can do is to explain the terms and conditions to the users and try to help them figure out a solution. – Source

And if you don’t think the Chinese are embracing credit cards at a rapid pace, consider this. China issued 3.23 billion credit cards in the second quarter of 2012. That’s up over 20 percent from the year before.

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For American debt relief companies looking to expand, China might be the place to go.

债务清偿 – Debt Settlement
信用咨询 – Credit Counseling

Hopefully Google translate didn’t just screw up those two translations and left me insulting someones mother.

Don’t bother thanking us China. You’re welcome.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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