Payment Methods

First Data Brings UnionPay Cards To The US

Commerce-enabling technology provider First Data and international bankcard company UnionPay International announced Tuesday (Oct. 24) they had formed a new partnership to expand the acceptance of the UnionPay card in the U.S.

According to a press release, the collaboration will allow Chinese visitors in the U.S. to pay with their UnionPay chip, credit and debit cards at First Data merchant clients.

The partnership will eventually extend to the 4 million merchant locations First Data serves. The companies noted projections call for more than 23 million Chinese visitors to the U.S. by 2021, the press release reported. Those visitors tend to spend $8,000 per trip, which could be a boon to merchants that accept the tourists’ preferred digital payments methods.

“As the world becomes increasingly borderless, First Data is dedicated to supporting our merchant clients with flexible payment options for their customers, wherever and however they shop,” said Dan Charron, executive vice president of global business solutions for First Data, in the press release. “We are extremely proud to work with an innovative partner like UnionPay International to expand their card acceptance throughout the United States.”

First Data will also enable UnionPay debit or credit transactions made for online retail or in-app purchase, as well as via a mobile phone or other devices. The partnership will initially target First Data online retailers within the travel and entertainment industries, including airlines, cruise lines and entertainment theme parks, the companies noted. As part of the deal, UnionPay debit transactions will be routed through First Data’s least cost debit routing technology, which allows merchants to reduce their overall cost of payment acceptance, the press release reported.
“We are very glad to strengthen our partnership with First Data,” said June Chen, general manager of UnionPay International America, in the same release. “We believe this new partnership will not only offer safer payment services to our cardholders visiting the United States, but also lay a solid foundation for the future rollout of UnionPay’s innovative products based on chip cards in the U.S.”



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.