According to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, China's yuan has become one of the five most widely used currencies in global payments. The yuan passed the Canadian and Australian dollars in popularity in December, and now ranks behind the dollar, the euro, the British pound, and Japanese yen. Beijing is gradually easing controls on the yuan and encouraging its use abroad in an effort to reduce costs for its traders and increase Chinese companies' role in the global economy. The yuan's exchange rate is set by China's central bank and the currency doesn't trade freely on global markets. The yuan accounted for 2.17% of global payments in December -- a 20% increase, that's behind the yen's share of 2.69%. The U.S. dollar's share is about 45%.