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Bank card transactions amounted to 6.86 trillion yuan (NZ$1.4 trillion) in China last year, accounting for 32% of the country’s total retail sales, according to ChinaDaily.com.

Citing the People’s Bank of China, the central bank’s announcement, the report said a total of 3.49 billion transactions were made with bankcards in 2009.

China’s payment systems, or clearing systems, dealt with 11.26 billion transactions, involving 1,208.06 trillion yuan.

China’s payment systems mainly included paper-based, non-local fund transfer systems, electronic interbank systems, local clearing houses, electronic intra-bank clearing systems, internal card-based payment systems (ATM and debit cards) and Post Office clearing.

In terms of payment instruments (like cash, checks, credit cards and e-currencies), China’s non-cash payment instruments dealt with 21.41 billion transactions, involving 715.75 trillion yuan.

Bankcards are playing an increasingly important role in individual retail sales payments and the payment systems have been active in supporting development of Chinese financial market.

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