UnionPay International (UPI) announced today its cooperation with livi bank, a Hong Kong virtual bank, to issue UnionPay virtual debit cards, a breakthrough for virtual card issuance in Hong Kong. livi customers can apply for cards online through the bank’s e-wallet and make UnionPay QR code payments at accepting merchants in Hong Kong. At present, UnionPay’s QR code payment solutions are supported by more than 10 e-wallet products in Hong Kong and Macau.
livi bank was among the first eight entities granted with virtual banking licenses by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in 2019. The HKMA commented that the development of virtual banks was conducive to the promotion of fintech and innovation, and critical to financial inclusion in Hong Kong. In response to this trend, UPI has been actively involved in the development of virtual banking sector in Hong Kong by leveraging its expertise in digital payment and the business resources it has accumulated in the city to provide digital payment services for local citizens.
Once a Hong Kong resident opens an account with livi, a UnionPay virtual card will be automatically issued when they enable the QR code payment function. With the new card, they can pay with QR code at nearly 40,000 local merchants in Hong Kong. In the future, cardholders can also withdraw cash on ATMs with QR codes and enjoy exclusive offers by u·plan, UnionPay’s cross-border marketing platform.
As one of the most popular payment tools among Hong Kong residents, The UnionPay card has built full acceptance in Hong Kong and issued over 30 million cards in total. Building on this, UPI has been accelerating its rollout of digital payment business. Specifically, UnionPay App has been enabled for almost all Hong Kong issuers, with the number of transactions almost doubling this year. Moreover, UnionPay QR payments are accepted by several most prominent e-wallets including BoC Pay and OmyCard. Cardholders of a number of banks are also able to make tap-and-go payments using Huawei Pay and Apple Pay.
At present, UnionPay digital payment services, such as QR code payment and mobile QuickPass products, are available in 60 countries and regions outside the Chinese mainland. About 90 UnionPay-powered e-wallet products have been launched in 14 markets. Specifically, UnionPay virtual cards can be delivered through a number of e-wallets in Singapore, Pakistan, Nepal and other places. In addition, UPI has also developed the SaaS Card Issuing Service Platform to help its partners overcome technical difficulties and reduce the cost of virtual card issuance.