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UnionPay International issues over 200m cards outside Chinese Mainland

By Leandra Monteiro

January 02, 2023

  • Card Payments
  • Cardholders
  • China
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UnionPay International, UnionPay With the issuance of UnionPay cards exceeding 200 million outside the Chinese Mainland, UnionPay International (UPI) is stepping into a new decade of providing high-quality, cost-effective and secure cross-border payment services.

Over the past decade, UPI has ceaselessly developed payment technology to share a brand-new cross-border payment experience with UPI cardholders in every corner of the globe. Presently, outside the Chinese Mainland, 38 million global merchants accept UnionPay cards, a four-fold increase since 2012, with four million new merchants added in 2022 alone. UnionPay card acceptance rates in APAC, Europe and North America have reached 95%, 80% and 80% respectively, while 22 million online merchants in 200 countries and regions now use UPI for payments.

During these ten years, the digital transformation of the global payments industry has developed rapidly, and UPI has accelerated product iterations and service upgrades to meet the ever-changing payment habits of international customers. Collaborating closely with central banks, national switch networks, and payment alliances, UPI has shared its innovative financial infrastructure and technical standards in countries such as Thailand, Philippines and has become the unified cross-border chip card standard of Asian Payment Network.

In recent years, the unified UnionPay App was launched for the banking industry that supports UPI contactless, QR code and In-APP payments, largely enhancing mobile payment experiences for cardholders. Including the UnionPay App, more than 170 UnionPay standard e-wallets have been launched outside the Chinese mainland, and over 16 million international merchants can experience the convenience brought by QR code payments or the “swipe” QuickPass.

Expanding its global reach, ongoing innovation, and ease-of-use for cardholders the world over, the first issuance of UPI cards in Zambia launched earlier this year where they are fast becoming a new payment preference. More than 20 million UnionPay cards have been issued internationally since the beginning of this year, with transaction rates exceeding pre-pandemic levels. In APAC, one-in-four newly issued bank cards is from UnionPay which now accounts for 95% of debit cards in Hong Kong and Macau SAR.

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