Chinese UnionPay - alternative to Visa and Mastercard payment systems

08.03.2022 | 17:07 Home / News / Fintech /
#UnionPay #Visa #Mastercard
International payment systems Visa and Mastercard decided to suspend their operation in Russia which means the cards of these payment systems issued by Russian banks will no longer work outside the country.

The National System of Plastic Cards (NSPC) recommended Russians to issue Mir co-badged cards issued by Chinese UnionPay to pay for purchases and withdraw cash abroad. Mir-UnionPay card will be accepted both in Russia and in about 180 countries supporting UnionPay.

The Bell reports that these cards are issued by a few Russian banks. Probably, the number of banks issuing UnionPay cards will increase. Sber, Alfa-Bank and Tinkoff have already announced working on it, the media outlet says.

Against the backdrop of recent events, we present some data on the Chinese UnionPay payment system.

China UnionPay (CUP) - is a Chinese national payment system launched in 2002 to support Chinese businesses outside the country. The initiators of the establishment of the system were the State Council and People’s Bank of China. Its shareholders are over 200 financial institutions.

China UnionPay has a subsidiary, UnionPay International (UPI), which is focused on growing and supporting UnionPay’s global business outside of China. In partnership with more than 2,500 financial institutions worldwide, UPI has enabled card acceptance in 180 countries with issuance in more than 70 countries, including Russia.

According to Finuslugi.ru, the number of ATMs accepting UnionPay exceeds 1 million.  And the number of issued cards and transactions with them is comparable to those of Visa and MasterCard.

In 2007, CUP cards began to be accepted in Russia. In 2014, Russian banks began to issue them. In 2016, the NSPC and the Chinese CUP agreed to launch a Mir-UnionPay co-badged card project.

UnionPay cards are debit, credit and prepaid. Customers are offered cards of the Classic category and premium Gold, Platinum and Diamante. The owners of the latter receive support from CUP when traveling abroad, medical assistance, concierge service, access to loyalty programs and other privileges. They are similar to those that holders of Visa and MasterCard premium cards have.

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