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Published on : Monday, November 21, 2016
On November 21, UnionPay International and Bank of China (BOC) jointly announced their joint issuance of the first Europe version of the Travel Mate. China UnionPay credit card. This is the first Travel Europe themed UnionPay credit card issued in mainland China. CEO of UnionPay International, Cai Jianbo, Vice President of BOC, Xu Luode, CEO of Swiss SIX Group, Urs Rüegsegger and CEO of SIX Payment Services (hereinafter referred to as “SIX”), Jürg Weber attended the launch ceremony in Switzerland.
In recent years, UnionPay International has worked with domestic mainstream banks in issuing multiple featured UnionPay card products for the most popular outbound destinations among the Chinese customers. In 2013, UnionPay International and BOC issued the first Travel Mate. China UnionPay credit card. Since then, with UnionPay’s acceptance network and service system keep improving, the two have issued 5 versions of the cards, namely Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia and the US versions.
This Europe version of Travel Mate. China card is a fruit of the collaboration among UnionPay International, BOC and the Swiss mainstream institutions, integrating various resources. This card can be used in the UnionPay global acceptance network covering 160 countries and regions worldwide, including the about 2 million merchants in 39 countries and regions in Europe. Meanwhile, SIX, the largest acquirer in Switzerland, will facilitate its quality merchants to offer exclusive privileges for UnionPay cardholders. Bucherer and Beyer, two major watchmakers in Switzerland, are among the first merchants that have launched cashback for UnionPay payment. Cardholders with this card are also able to enjoy the all the privileges entitled to all Travel Mate. China cards, including the cashback offered by many merchants in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the US.
According to Cai Jianbo, the expansion of UnionPay’s acceptance network in Europe has made several breakthroughs in the past few years. Now, about 50% of merchants in Europe accept UnionPay, which meets the payment demands of UnionPay cardholders visiting the region. Based on this acceptance foundation, we are accelerating our business expansion in Europe together with institutions in and outside mainland China. First, we continue to expand our acceptance footprint, enable more types of merchants to accept UnionPay and to improve card using experiences. Second, we actively seek opportunities for issuing cards to initiate the localization of our business in Europe. Third, we collaborate with various merchants in offering exclusive privileges and services to UnionPay cardholders. Many key merchants in Europe will join UnionPay International’s cross-border marketing platform, U Plan, within this year, to provide customers with accurate information and instant discounts.
Xu Luode said, as the most internationalized and diversified bank in China, BOC is providing comprehensive financial services for customers in mainland China and 47 countries and regions around the world. The Bank has found opportunities in the internationalization of RMB and the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and has taken the Belt and Road regions as the key regions for the layout of its global service network. Now, BOC has set up branches in 18 countries and regions along the Belt and Road, including those in Europe. We choose to issue this Europe version of Travel Mate. China credit cards in Switzerland because we have seen the growth potential of cross-border payment in Europe, an increasingly popular travel destination to the Chinese. We also hope to take bankcard payment as an entry point to further enhance our cooperation with the European market in fields of cross-border RMB service, trade and financing service, personal financial service, and local financial service.
Now, 1.4 million merchants in the six major European destinations (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain) accept UnionPay cards, which is about 70% of the merchants in Europe accepting UnionPay. In Austria and Iceland, almost all ATMs accept UnionPay. In Italy, Spain and Greece, UnionPay cards can be used at over 80% of the local ATMs. In Switzerland, all the ATMs and over half of the merchants accept UnionPay cards for cash withdrawal or payment.