BOC, Mastercard join forces for overseas debit card

By WU YIYAO in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-22 10:04

BOC, Mastercard join forces for overseas debit card

The stand of Bank of China at a financial industry expo in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Bank of China said it and payment technology company Mastercard Inc jointly launched a debit card that enables payments in 19 foreign currencies for Chinese cardholder. The move targets the expanding number of bank card users who need payment services overseas but are without a credit card.

Increasing number of students studying overseas, stay-at-home mothers and fathers, freelancers, as well as retirees-who have demands for payment services in other countries or shop on overseas online marketplaces-are a rising force in the sector.

According to industry analysts, they are an increasing group of bank card users, and developing payment services targeting the segment is one of the latest trends for payment technologies providers.

Debit cards now account for 70 percent of all payment cards globally and are expected to grow to 72 percent by 2021, according to data from financial consultants Retail Banking Research.

Bryan Ma, product management director of Mastercard, said the number of applicants for international debit cards was rising fast, particularly among those who travel frequently and make big-ticket payment from time to time.

Ma said flexibility was a key reason behind the popularity of debit cards.

"For example, applicants for international debit cards do not need to provide income and assets ownership documents ... as required for credit card applicants," he said.

"The debit card is also activated immediately after the application is approved and can receive interest from credit deposits."

The maximum daily withdrawal amount for the international debit cardholders is $1,000 daily through overseas ATMs, and the cards enable cardholders to also make big-ticket payments, such as paying tuition in overseas markets.

A fast-growing number of outbound tourists and students from China are driving up overseas spending by nations.

According to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the total spending of Chinese outbound tourists in 2016 was $261 billion. Overseas spending by Chinese outbound tourists has been growing in double digits since 2004.

Payment services and payment technologies providers have been competing heavily to win Chinese cardholders' favor.

Almost all market players have launched privileges and discounts for dining, accommodation, visa applications, flights, cruises and online shopping.

Mobile payments are one of the fastest-growing payment habits of Chinese consumers and mobile payment services providers are also expanding their footprint globally-enabling users to make payments through a touch of their phone keypads or through scanning QR codes.

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