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UnionPay enhances global presence by issuing first U.S. card


11:13, May 01, 2013

(L-R) Dong Xiaojun, deputy consul general of the Chinese Consulate General in New York, Su Ning, China UnionPay board chairman, and Betsy Cohen, CEO of the Bancorp Bank, unveil the new cards during the issuing ceremony for the first UnionPay Card in the United States between the Bancorp bank and UnionPay international in New York City, the United States, April 29, 2013. (Xinhua/Cheng Li)

NEW YORK, April 29 (Xinhua) -- China UnionPay, the dominant bank card organization in China which has been expanding internationally, took a further move to enhance its global presence as it launched the first card in the United States on Monday.

The prepaid travel card was jointly issued by UnionPay's subsidiary UnionPay International, which focuses on international business, and The Bancorp Bank, which is a local bank and subsidiary of The Bankcorp Inc.

The UnionPay travel card is designed to meet payment needs of American tourists and business visitors who frequently travel to the Asia-Pacific region, as well as provides another payment choice for local residents.

"AS the U.S. and China are the largest and second largest economies in the world, China-U.S. bilateral trade is the most important trade relationship, and the frequent economic, trade and personnel exchanges between the two countries have boosted more payment demands," said Su Ning, Chairman of China UnionPay.

UnionPay has been cooperating with local institutions to better support Chinese consumers who need to make payments in the U.S. and has gained wide acceptance locally.

Now on the basis of that, UnionPay is actively seeking to provide convenient and favorable services to American cardholders, and issuing the first UnionPay card is the first step in this direction, Su added.

As the largest prepaid card issuer in the U.S., Bancorp has a sales network composed of over 550 banks, which is able to promote UnionPay cards to a wider range of clients.

"We are excited to become the first issuing bank of the UnionPay travel card in the United States. We look forward to combining the UnionPay brand and its service network with The Bancorp's services to deliver the UnionPay travel card for U.S. residents traveling to China," said Betsy Cohen, The Bancorp's Chief Executive Officer.

The card provides new payments options for local cardholders. It can be used in more than 90 percent of ATMs, 80 percent of the merchants in the U.S. as well as on UnionPay global network in other countries and regions.

The transactions of this UnionPay travel card can be settled in local currencies where the payment is made and debit the account without charging currency conversion fees. It also supports bank counter and online transaction services.

The Shanghai-headquartered UnionPay was established in 2002 as a bankcard association which has about 400 domestic and overseas associate members, and it has been extending its international acceptance network since then.

UnionPay cards have been accepted in 141 countries and regions outside China. Meanwhile, it also actively promotes issuance of UnionPay standard cards overseas, providing payment convenience for foreigners in their work, travel and study in China.

An American Visa- and MasterCard-like card brand, Discover Finance Services, is among its partners, as well major banks including HSBC Bank, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank.

At present, UnionPay cards issued in nearly 30 overseas countries and regions have been frequently used on local and global UnionPay networks.

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