Barclaycard, the U.K. payment company, announced Tuesday (March 5) that it has inked a new partnership with UnionPay International, a unit of China UnionPay.
According to a report in Finextra, citing Barclaycard, 110,000 U.K. merchants will be able to accept UnionPay under the deal. The acceptance will be phased, with the rollout kicking off this summer.
Barclaycard currently processes close to half of the U.K.'s credit and debit card transactions. UnionPay is one of the favored payment methods for Chinese citizens visiting the U.K. The aim of the deal is to help U.K. retailers make it easier for tourists from China to shop with their preferred payment method.
The deal is expected to be a win for both sides. For Chinese consumers, it provides a familiar payment method to use overseas. For U.K. merchants, it presents an opportunity to boost sales when Chinese tourists visit.
According to the report, which cites Visit Britain, the U.K. expects to see an increase in Chinese visitors this year. Bookings are 31 percent higher from January to June compared to a year ago. Chinese consumers tend to spend a lot when visiting the U.K., with the average visitor spending three times more than other visitors' averages. With digital payments as the preferred method for these tourists, Chinese payment companies are expanding internationally.
In addition to the deal with Barclaycard, in January UnionPay launched the first prepaid cards for corporates and consumers in the U.K. The UPayCard is a multi-currency card designed for businesses and consumers. At the same time, the payments company launched its UPI Developer platform, which enables developers to create apps that enable cross-border payments.