A credit to the global banking system
Updated: 2013-03-18 02:30
By WU YIYAO in Shanghai (China Daily)
UnionPay cards help yuan become increasingly international currency
Zhou Kang relied solely on his Chinese UnionPay card to meet all bills during a seven-day trip to South Korea over the Spring Festival last month.
"Wherever I went I saw the logo for UnionPay and cashiers always asked me if I wanted to settle bills using it," said Zhou, 35.
From $700 for cosmetics to $2 for a coffee, transactions were smooth and it saved him a lot of time and the cost of converting Chinese cash into a foreign currency. Zhou also received a 6 percent discount at Lotte Mart, which was holding a UnionPay card holder's special offer during the festival.
Zhou was among hundreds of thousands of China UnionPay card holders who traveled abroad during the Spring Festival, helping to boost the overseas transactions of the bank card by 33 percent year-on-year, according to its own statistics.
In Cambodia, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, UnionPay posted a more than 40 percent growth in business.
UnionPay is the only Chinese bank card organization in the Chinese mainland. Founded in March 2002 it operates under the approval of the People's Bank of China, or the central bank. Its headquarters are in Shanghai and it has about 400 Chinese and overseas associate members.
By beginning of March 2013, UnionPay cards are accepted in 141 countries and regions outside the Chinese mainland; Institutions in 30 overseas countries and regions have issued UnionPay cards.
The United States, South Korea, Iceland, Hungary and Japan permit UnionPay credit card transactions via holders' signatures.
The 130 million UnionPay IC cards in the mainland and abroad were used in transactions during this Spring Festival to a value of 15 times that during last year's festival.