China UnionPay, a world leader in credit card payment processing

In the U.S. Visa and Master Card are household names.  But have you heard of China UnionPay? Due to its affiliations with Visa, Master Card and American Express, it is accepted in more than 135 countries and regions, China UnionPay is a world leader in credit card payment acceptance and processing.  The Shanghai based China UnionPay is owned by 85 Chinese banks including the Chinese government and is the world’s second largest credit card processor behind the Visa card.  China UnionPay was founded in March of 2002 and it is the only interbank network in China.  China’s credit card processing is expected to increase to $397 billion by 2015.  In the U.S., Citibank ATMs accept the card for withdrawals in dollars.

The recent rise of UnionPay has been a boom for those merchants that offer luxury goods such as Italian leather handbags and French perfumes.  Chinese customers are the world’s number one for luxury items.  The Chinese government requires all automated tellers in China as well as all Chinese merchants to use UnionPay electronic payment system for local payments.  Because of that Visa, Master Card and American Express pays a certain percentage of their transactions to UnionPay.  The U.S. government considers this as unfair trade practice.

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