|Founded||26 March 2002|
UnionPay (Chinese: 银联; pinyin: Yínlián), also known as China UnionPay (Chinese: 中国银联; pinyin: Zhōngguó Yínlián) or by its abbreviation, CUP or UPI internationally, 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 26 March 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). It is also the only interbank network in China that links all the automatic teller machine (ATMs) of all banks throughout the country. It is also an electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) network.
UnionPay is the largest card payment organization (debit and credit cards combined) in the world offering mobile and online payments based on total value of payment transactions, ahead of Visa and Mastercard.
With the approval of the People's Bank of China, China UnionPay was launched on 26 March 2002, in Shanghai by PBOC governor Dai Xianglong, The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank served as its first members. 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 its descendant, although attempts at unifying China's various credit card and interbank networks have been in place since the 1990s.
In 2005, UnionPay entered into agreements with other payment networks to increase acceptance around the world. Some major examples include:
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The CUP logo originated in China before the establishment of the CUP network system. The red, blue, and green color block design represented the integration of cooperation, steady flow, and safety assurance. It is accompanied by the Chinese characters for "UnionPay" in white. The logo was first registered in 1997 and launched in the Shenzhen trial.
China UnionPay started a limited trial card distribution in March 2001. By January 2002, many banks and financial institutions began a larger trial in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and five other five cities, which gradually extended to the entire country.
On 18 October 2005, China UnionPay announced a new logo. The new card kept the three-colors of the old logo while other elements were adjusted. The new logo also featured increased use of English. At present, both card styles are in circulation, with the old UnionPay cards being gradually replaced.
CUP was initially concerned that overseas merchants might fail to recognise the new logo and refuse to accept new-style UnionPay cards. Therefore, for a period, unified domestic debit and renminbi (RMB) single currency credit cards used the new logo, while international debit cards and dual currency credit cards used the old logo. From the beginning of 2009, dual-currency credit card banks began to gradually introduce the use of the new UnionPay logo.
On the introduction of EMV chips into China UnionPay cards, banks also introduced QuickPass (Chinese: 闪付; pinyin: Shǎnfù), a contactless smart card feature similar to MasterCard's PayPass or Visa's payWave. QuickPass is accepted in many supermarkets and fast food stores. Quickpass is also supported by several digital wallet providers such as Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.
UnionPay is China's first financial-level pre-authorization service for secured transactions. The system allows payment for online shopping at any merchant that accepts UnionPay. In 2014, the total amount of cross-bank transactions of CUP card exceeded 41.1 trillion yuan.
UnionPay cards can be used in 164 countries and regions around the world. Some UnionPay credit cards are also affiliated with American Express (AmEx), MasterCard, or Visa, and they can be used abroad as American Express, MasterCard, or Visa credit cards. 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.
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. As of 1 November 2007, China UnionPay cards may be accepted where Discover Network Cards are accepted in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. 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 annual cap on overseas cash withdrawals from Chinese banks-issued UnionPay accounts. In November 2017, Azoya teamed up with UnionPay to enable consumers in China to profit from the Black Friday online shopping festival via a cross-border marketing platform.
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UnionPay is the primary network of these Chinese banks:
- Agricultural Bank of China
- Bank of China (including its Hong Kong-based subsidiary Nanyang Commercial Bank)
- Bank of Communications (Credit cards co-issued with HSBC)
- Bank of Beijing
- Bank of Ningbo
- Bank of Shanghai
- China CITIC Bank
- China Construction Bank
- China Everbright Bank
- China Merchants Bank
- China Minsheng Banking Corporation
- Guangdong Development Bank
- Huaxia Bank (Credit cards co-issued with Deutsche Bank)
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)
- Industrial Bank (Credit cards co-issued with Hang Seng Bank)
- Postal Savings Bank of China (formerly known as the China Postal Savings and Remittance Bureau)
- Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
- Shenzhen Development Bank
- Shenzhen Ping An Bank
- Taizhou City Commercial Bank
Other UnionPay-affiliated organizations include municipal commercial banks as well as rural credit cooperatives. Overall, there are 165 financial institutions that issue UnionPay cards.
UnionPay had partnered with JETCO in Hong Kong and Macau until 1 January 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 eleven foreign banks have the right to issue UnionPay debit cards in China:
- Bank of China (Hong Kong)
- Bank of East Asia
- DBS Bank (as of July 2009)
- Hana Bank (as of November 2009)
- Hang Seng Bank
- OCBC Bank (as of 2010)
- OCBC Wing Hang Bank (as of 2010)
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Woori Bank (as of May 2009)
UnionPay in other countries:
- AGD Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Myanmar
- Askari Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Pakistan
- Australia Post, previously distributed the "Load&Go China" card, issued by Bank of China (Australia) Limited; featuring imagery of the Great Wall
- Baiduri Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Brunei
- Bangkok Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Thailand
- Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) offers a UnionPay debit card in Laos
- Bank Sinarmas offers a UnionPay debit card in Indonesia
- BDO Unibank offers a UnionPay credit card in the Philippines
- DBS Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Singapore.
- Halyk Bank offers both UnionPay credit and debit cards in Kazakhstan
- Gazprombank offers both UnionPay credit & debit cards in Russia.
- Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) offers both UnionPay credit and debit cards in Vietnam
- Kasikornbank offers a UnionPay credit card in Thailand
- Kazkommertsbank offers UnionPay credit cards in Kazakhstan
- Krung Thai Bank offers a UnionPay debit card in Thailand
- Lotte Card offers a UnionPay credit card in the Republic of Korea.
- Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS offers a UnionPay credit card in Japan.
- Muganbank offers a UnionPay credit card in Azerbaijan.
- SCT Networks offers a UnionPay Debit card in Nepal.
- Himalayan Bank offers a UnionPay Prepaid cards in Nepal.
- Nepal Investment Bank Limited offers a UnionPay cards in Nepal.
- NIC ASIA Bank offers a UnionPay virtual cards in Nepal.
- AmBank offers a UnionPay Credit card in Malaysia.
- Public Bank offers a UnionPay Debit card in Malaysia.
- Philippine National Bank (PNB) offers a UnionPay credit card in Philippines.
- Sacombank offers both UnionPay credit and debit cards in Vietnam
- Mitsui Sumitomo Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Japan.
- Shinhan Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in the Republic of Korea.
- United Overseas Bank offers a UnionPay credit card in Singapore.
- Vostochny Express Bank offers both UnionPay credit & debit cards in Russia.
- 1LINK offers UnionPay debit cards through its member banks in Pakistan.
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