China Merchants Bank in Shenzen has started an online cash-advance service that draws from a credit card to fund the cardholder's bank account.

The service provides advances faster and more conveniently than automated teller machines, China Merchants said.

It is available only in yuan-based advances and to cardholders with a China Merchants Bank account. Each credit card is allowed to lend funds up to $293 a day to the holder's bank account.

The bank's processing fee for the service is the same — 30% of the amount — as the charge for taking a credit card cash advance through an ATM, according to the bank.

Technologies to safeguard the loan service include anti-phishing software the bank developed in late 2007 and mobile digital certification.

"Though the service is new in China, it is safe enough to be trusted," Zhang Hua, an analyst in Beijing with Celent LLC, told PaymentsSource. "Online banking in China is well developed, and banks pay a lot of attention to security."

China's first credit card issuer, China Merchants said it has issued 30 million credit cards since 2002.

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