China UnionPay cooperates with Greek lender Alpha Bank

Updated: 2014-09-16 10:13


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ATHENS - China UnionPay (CUP), a leading card issuer in the world, on Monday signed a collaboration agreement with Greek lender Alpha Bank, the leading payment cards acquirer in Greece, to facilitate the use of CUP cards through Alpha Bank's network in the country.

During the signing ceremony at Alpha Bank's headquarters, the deal was hailed by top managers of both sides as breaking new ground in the market, supporting Greek tourism and its economy, as well as contributing to the further development of ties between Greece and China.

Alpha Bank is the first Greek lender to welcome China UnionPay cards, which are already accepted in 20 countries across Europe and more than 140 countries and regions worldwide.

Under the agreement signed by Alpha Bank and UnionPay International, a subsidiary of China UnionPay, UnionPay cards will be accepted both at Alpha Bank's ATM network, as well as the POS network of all businesses collaborating with the Greek lender.

With Greece becoming a tourist and investment destination favored by Chinese tourists and entrepreneurs in recent years, the partnership is expected to result in easier financial transactions and help recession-hit Greek enterprises enhance their customer base and turnover.

"We believe and we wish that the cooperation between UnionPay and Alpha Bank will enhance cooperation among commercial banks of China and Alpha Bank and other financial service businesses in Greece," said Wang Xiquan, executive vice president, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Wang Lixin, chief business development officer of Union Pay International, noted that the deal "is yet another good sign of cooperation among the two ancient civilizations."

"The joining of hands of our two countries will benefit Europe and world economy," added Sun Liwei, Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Greece.

CUP is the leader in payment services in Asia with 4.3 billion cards issued and a $4.5 trillion turnover in 2013. Alpha Bank is the leading payment cards acquirer in Greece with a network of 600 branches, 1,300 ATM's and about 60,000 POS terminals across the country.

"We are very proud to have signed this agreement with our Chinese friends not only because of the size of the expectations due to the large number in billions of cards issue, but also because of the good spirit that existed all through the negotiations," Demetrios Mantzounis, managing director and CEO of Alpha Bank, told Xinhua.

Leonidas Kassoumis, executive general manager of Alpha Bank, said: "We are honored to partners China UnionPay in this country. We will accommodate all China UnionPay card holders through our ATM network and through our POS network and in the beginning of next year through our e-commerce functionality so for them to be secure, relaxed and convenient all over the country."

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