The UnionPay card in China is accepted by more than 80 percent of merchants in the United States, but Chinese customers are increasingly moving toward QR code payment capability.
RiverPay, a smart payment processor, integrates UnionPay QR code functionality onto merchants’ cashier systems without disrupting existing systems, according to a news release.
In addition to the growing adoption of Union Pay cards in the U.S., more than 280,000 merchant locations in Canada, as well as 90 percent of ATMs also accept it.
Because of the move toward QR code payments, UnionPay released its mobile app in December of 2017 allowing for the technology.
“An e-wallet aggregating all UnionPay cards the users own, the UnionPay app is idea for cross-(border) payments with (no) currency conversion fee, competitive exchange rate, direct access to Chinese currency fund and a wide variety of rewards and loyalty programs in retail, hotel, restaurants and more,” said Colin Yang, Director of Communications for RiverPay Inc.
The app has been very successful, Yang said.
“In April 2019, the UnionPay app reached 150 million registered users and it’s growing at lightning speed — because the user base behind the UnionPay app, are all people that bank cards have been issued to in China,” he said. “According to China central bank’s data, Chinese people owned 7.59 billion active bank cards in total, 5.46 cards per capita in 2018.”
RiverPay allows North American merchants to plug into the purchasing power of 7.59 billion Chinese cardholders, and it not only allows for UnionPay integration, but Alipay and Wechat Pay as well.
In other UnionPay news, Barclaycard, the U.K. payment company, announced in March that it inked a new partnership with UnionPay International. Under the deal, 110,000 U.K. merchants will accept UnionPay, according to a report in Finextra. 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. Like in the U.S., 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.