PaymentsUnionPay International’s continuous expansion of global network

10 Years of Providing Innovative Global Payment Services
PRNewswire PRNewswireJanuary 2, 20236 min

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 to the world’s largest cardholder base. UPI’s partners have expanded from 60 initial members since establishment in 2012 to 2,500 institutions internationally with an acceptance network that currently spans 181 countries and regions, 78 of which now issue UnionPay cards, ensuring convenient local services to an ever-growing number of global UnionPay cardholders and merchants.

UnionPay International vastly improves the cross-border payment experience for local cardholders

Over the past decade, UPI has ceaselessly developed cutting-edge payment technology to share a brand-new cross-border payment experience with UnionPay 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 UnionPay 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 ThailandPhilippines and has become the unified cross-border chip card standard of Asian Payment Network.

UPI’s global expansion reflects its impressive technological and digital innovation

In recent years, the unified UnionPay App was launched for the banking industry that supports UnionPay 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.

In 2018, the Hong Kong and Macau SAR version of UnionPay App was launched and in four years, has become one of the most popular mobile payment products for residents. Access to UnionPay mobile payment services includes Singapore’s PayLah!, Malaysia’s Boost, Thailand’s K Plus, as well as multiple other leading products. Behind these achievements lie of UPI’s technical service platforms, including developer, cloud card issuance, and scenario service platforms, which reduce technical difficulties and costs for partners to access UnionPay mobile services, supporting more financial institutions. Telecommunications, retail, and other enterprises have also joined the UnionPay mobile payment ecosystem to enhance the mobile payment experience of international cardholders.

UnionPay’s global reach continues apace and will expand further in the coming decade

Expanding its global reach, ongoing innovation, and ease-of-use for cardholders the world over, the first issuance of UnionPay 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. The Nilson Report ranked UnionPay’s transaction volume first among major international card issuers in APAC for 2021.

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