China UnionPay

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China UnionPay
Zhōngguó Yínlián
UnionPay logo.svg
Operating area People's Republic of China
Members 296 (232 in China)
ATMs 1,200,000
Founded March 2002

China UnionPay (Chinese: 中国银联; pinyin: Zhōngguó Yínlián), also known as UnionPay (Chinese: 银联; pinyin: Yínlián) or by its abbreviation, CUP, is the only domestic bank card organization in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Founded on March 26, 2002, China UnionPay is an association for China's banking card industry, operating under the approval of the People's Bank of China (PBOC, central bank of China).[1] It is also the only interbank network in China excluding Hong Kong and Macau, linking the ATMs of all banks throughout mainland China and widely accepted by the ATMs in Hong Kong and Macau. It is also an EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) network.


With the approval of the People's Bank of China, China UnionPay was launched on March 26, 2002 in Shanghai by PBOC governor Dai Xianglong, with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank serving as its first members.[2] However, the concept of a unified Chinese bank card network dates back to 1993, with the formation of the "Golden Card Project" advocated by then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin. UnionPay is considered the descendant of the Golden Card Project, although attempts at unifying China's various credit card and interbank networks have been in place since the 1990s.[3]

UnionPay may be contributing to capital flight from China, through poorly regulated store front operations in Macau.[4]


Upon the introduction of EMV chips into China UnionPay cards, many banks also introduced QuickPass (Chinese: 闪付) a contactless payment feature similar to MasterCard's PayPass or Visa's payWave. However, unlike MasterCard or Visa's implementation, in the case of debit cards, QuickPass does not operate on a trust-based system, but rather as a stored-value card.

Payments by QuickPass-enabled debit cards can only be made using funds which have been "withdrawn" (圈存) from the account and stored on the card itself as electronic cash (essentially preauthorising the funds for use, eliminating the possibility that an offline transaction may exceed the account holder's balance) .

Use abroad[edit]

Now UnionPay cards can be used in 141 countries and regions around the world (second-largest payment network by value of transactions processed, behind Visa.). Some UnionPay Credit Cards are also affiliated with either American Express, MasterCard or Visa, and they can be used abroad as an American Express, MasterCard or Visa. UnionPay Debit Cards, however, can only be used in the UnionPay network and other networks that have signed contracts with UnionPay. Since 2006, China UnionPay cards can be used in over 100 countries outside China.[5] A 3D hologram of the Temple of Heaven is used on UnionPay credit cards.

  •  Afghanistan: UnionPay cards are accepted in 40 ATMs in Afghanistan main cities (from English Site > Globalization > ATM search )
  •  Australia: UnionPay cards are accepted at National Australia Bank ATMs and EFTPOS merchants. In February 2013, NAB added UnionPay eCommerce acceptance to its payment gateway.[6] UnionPay cards can also used at Cashcard ATMs (a First Data company). UnionPay cards are also accepted at David Jones. Commonwealth Bank has accepted UnionPay cards since June 2013.

With respect to E-Commerce, in March 2010 PayPal announced a partnership with China UnionPay enabling the use of PayPal with UnionPay member cards.


UnionPay is the primary network of the following banks listed below:

Other UnionPay-affiliated organizations include certain municipal commercial banks as well as rural credit cooperatives. Other financial institutions in cities that are already capable of issuing cards will issue UnionPay cards in succession.

In addition, ten foreign banks have the right to issue UnionPay debit cards in China:

While Mitsui Sumitomo Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Japan, and United Overseas Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Singapore. As of January 2013, Bank of East Asia and Citibank are the only two banks allowed to independently issue UnionPay credit cards in both Hong Kong and the mainland. HSBC and its subsidiary Hang Seng Bank independently issue UnionPay credit cards in Hong Kong while they issue cards in the mainland in cooperation with local banks as noted above. Deutsche Bank only has co-issued cards, with no independently issued UnionPay credit cards.

Overall, there are 165 financial institutions that issue UnionPay cards.

Outside China, UnionPay has partnerships with other ATM networks. UnionPay has a partnership with JETCO in Hong Kong and Macau, both of which are not included in the UnionPay system, although this ended as of January 1, 2006. UnionPay also has affiliations with other banks' networks: this is identified with a UnionPay sticker being displayed usually on the door of the ATM room or on the ATM itself. The sticker has the UnionPay logo and the words "Welcome to use China UnionPay cards" displayed on the bottom in English and Chinese.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Overview". 
  2. ^ Dai Xianglong (2002-03-26). "Remarks by Mr. Dai Xianglong, Governor of the PBC at the Opening Ceremony of China Unionpay". People's Bank of China. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  3. ^ Pomfret, James (11 March 2014). "Special Report: How China's official bank card is used to smuggle money". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "China UnionPay extends coverage globally". Xinhua news agency. 2006-02-02. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  5. ^ Westpac in 2014 "National Australia Bank and UnionPay to launch new online payment capability". The Paypers. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  6. ^ Tara Perkins (2009-09-27). "Interac ABMs to accept Chinese debit cards". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2009-09-26. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  7. ^ "CUP". Canadia Bank, PLC. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ [1], Mexico-UnionPay.
  10. ^ Uniastrum ATMs now accept China UnionPay credit cards
  11. ^ "Standard Bank opens ATMs to China UnionPay customers". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  12. ^ "SIX Pay Expands Its Product Range". SIX Payment Services. 2011-04-14. 
  13. ^ "CRDB Bank to hook China Unionpay card". Daily News (Tanzania). Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "ATM Acceptance Business of CUP Card Completely Opened in UK" (press release). China Unionpay, August 13, 2009. Accessed February 16, 2010.
  15. ^ "China UnionPay accepted in U.S. on Discover/Pulse networks". People's Bank of China. 2005-12-06. Retrieved 2009-09-27. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Big Database of Credit Offers: Cards Accepted in the United States". wistex. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 

External links[edit]