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HomePARTNER ARTICLESIntroducing UnionPay International

Introducing UnionPay International

Founded in Shangahi in 2002, UnionPay has skyrocketed to become one of the world’s major card scheme brands. Here, The Register uncovers how the company came about and its current position in New Zealand.


The beginning of UnionPay International

In 2004, UnionPay International (UPI) was launched and now operates in 180 countries and regions, providing high-quality, cost-effective, and secure cross-border payment services across the globe.

Head of Union Pay International South Pacific branch Jiangtao Jian, says rapid growth in trade demand and intensive international finance cooperation with China, were the driving forces for UnionPay International to expand.

“Today, in partnership with more than 2400 institutions worldwide, UnionPay International can process almost every currency in the world,” says Jian.

“People around the world can enjoy UnionPay products and services, including the innovative UnionPay QR code and e-wallet payment option.”

RBR’s new report Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2025 reveals the number of merchant outlets accepting card payments worldwide grew by four percent in 2019 to reach 74.5 million.

The study reveals that, at the end of 2019, UnionPay cards could be used at 59.3 million merchant outlets, representing 80 percent of the global total. Europe saw the greatest increase in the proportion of merchants accepting UnionPay cards, with particularly strong growth in Russia. The scheme was also accepted in India for the first time.

NZ Merchants

UnionPay International was established in New Zealand in 2015, yet, BNZ was the first bank in New Zealand to offer UnionPay acquirer services back in 2008. As of June 2021, there are more than 80 thousand New Zealand merchants who accept UnionPay cards, including but not limited to retail, entertainment, tourism, education, and other service providers.

Cardholder Benefits

Jian says Chinese New Zealanders, either international students, work visa holders, or new residents and business people, using UnionPay cards could make it easier for them to spend China’s currency.

“There is no transaction charge (currency conversion fee or cross-border transaction fee) for direct currency conversion when using UnionPay to make a payment.

As for Kiwis, possessing a UnionPay card is the best payment option when traveling in Asia. This allows UnionPay cardholders to enjoy marketing offers and privileges with local merchants.


Cashless payments driving growth in acceptance

RBR forecasts continued growth in the number of card-accepting merchant outlets worldwide, rising from 74.5 million at end-2019 to 95.9 million at end-2025, largely driven by government initiatives to promote cashless payments. The Covid-19 pandemic is encouraging use of contactless payments over cash, which will in turn boost the number of EFTPOS terminals.

Daniel Dawson, who led RBR’s Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2025 research says, “Covid-19 hasmade contactless technology more appealing and encouraged some merchants that were previously reluctant to accept cards to start doing so.”


Any merchant who wants to know more about UnionPay International in New Zealand, please contact: nzmerchant@unionpayintl.com


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