China UnionPay

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Quick Pass redirects here. For the toll transponder system in North Carolina, also called Quick Pass, see North Carolina Turnpike Authority.
China UnionPay
Zhōngguó Yínlián
Industry Banking, Finance
Founded March 2002
Headquarters Pudong, Shanghai, China
Members 296 (232 in China)
Number of employees

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 a Chinese financial services corporation headquartered in Shanghai, China. It provides bank card services and a major card scheme in mainland China. 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 that links all the ATMs of all banks throughout the country. 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]

In 2014, UnionPay was reported to have been 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 (similar to girogo/GeldKarte in Germany).

Payments by QuickPass-enabled debit cards can only be made using funds which have been "withdrawn" (圈存) from the account and stored on the card itself as electronic cash (essentially preauthorising the funds for use, eliminating the possibility that an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

UnionPay cards can be used in 141 countries and regions around the world, making it the third-largest payment network by value of transactions processed, behind Visa and MasterCard.[5] Some UnionPay credit cards are also affiliated with 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.[6]

In May 2005 Discover Network announced an alliance with China UnionPay Network. The two companies have signed a long-term agreement that allows acceptance of Discover Network brand cards at UnionPay ATMs and point-of-sale terminals in China and acceptance of China UnionPay cards on the PULSE network in the U.S.[7] As of November 1, 2007, China UnionPay cards may be accepted where Discover Network Cards are accepted in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.[8] As of early 2013, the cross acceptance agreement was expanded to support e-commerce or card-not-present transactions.

In March 2010 PayPal announced a partnership with China UnionPay enabling the use of PayPal with UnionPay member cards.

In 2015 China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) placed a 100,000 yuan annual cap on overseas UnionPay cash withdrawals [9]


UnionPay is the primary network of these Chinese banks:

Other UnionPay-affiliated organizations include municipal commercial banks as well as rural credit cooperatives. Overall, there are 165 financial institutions that issue UnionPay cards.[citation needed]

UnionPay had partnered with JETCO in Hong Kong and Macau until January 1, 2006. As of January 2013, Bank of East Asia and Citibank were the only banks allowed to independently issue UnionPay credit cards in 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.

The following ten foreign banks have the right to issue UnionPay debit cards in China[contradictory]:

UnionPay in other countries:

  • Mitsui Sumitomo Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Japan.
  • Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS offers a UnionPay credit card in Japan.
  • Shinhan Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in the Republic of Korea.
  • Lotte Card offers a UnionPay credit card in the Republic of Korea.
  • Baiduri Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Brunei
  • Vostochny Express Bank offers both UnionPay credit & debit cards in Russia.
  • United Overseas Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Singapore.
  • DBS Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Singapore.[10]
  • Bank Sinarmas offers a UnionPay credit card in Indonesia
  • Banco de Oro offers a UnionPay credit card in Philippines
  • Kasikornbank offers a UnionPay credit card in Thailand
  • Bangkok Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Thailand
  • Krung Thai Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Thailand

See also[edit]


External links[edit]