The Wall Street Journal: UnionPay International launches the “UnionPay” app in HK and Macau
UnionPay International announced recently that it had extended its mobile payments service app to cardholders in Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, to meet the increasingly higher demand from local residents for convenient payments as their connectivity to the mainland intensifies.
“The move responds to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” said Cai Jianbo, CEO of UnionPay International, the subsidiary in charge of the international business of UnionPay, one of the world’s largest bank card service providers headquartered in Shanghai, China.
Cai said the app — named as UnionPay — offers more financial support for residents, at a time of increasing daily spending, such as on transportation, cross-region and cross-border utility payments, as well as on other lower-amount but high-frequency daily consumption deals. As a complement to traditional card payments, it brings much more convenience to locals, he added.
“UnionPay will continue to refine and improve its financial payment services, so as to better serve the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, according to Cai.
He said the app also meets the needs of Hong Kong’s and Macao’s residents for a mobile payment solution that is good for cross-region and cross-border transactions, and offers various discounts and privileges.
Residents in Hong Kong and Macao can download the UnionPay app and link their locally issued UnionPay bank cards to it. The service allows them to make payments by using UnionPay QR codes and in-app payments, according to Cai.
In addition to their local places, he said the service is also available when Hong Kong and Macao cardholders go to the mainland or travel overseas.
According to UnionPay International, its mobile payment app for Hong Kong and Macao cardholders is an open platform.
Customers with UnionPay cards issued by six local institutions, including Bank of China (Hong Kong) and the Bank of Communications (Hong Kong), can bind their cards to the UnionPay Mobile QuickPass starting from this month.
It is expected that the app will support UnionPay cards issued by most local banks in Hong Kong and Macao within the year, the company said.
Chan Wing On, chairman of Tai Hing Group, said the launch of the UnionPay Mobile QuickPass service in Hong Kong and Macao will further improve the mobile payment experience for local customers, and will also bring more business opportunities to local merchants.
He added that as a businessman, he was expecting good things from the app launch.
It is believed that accepting UnionPay mobile payments will enable businesses to achieve higher payment efficiency and provide various discounts to their customers.
Cai Jianbo said UnionPay has been actively promoting payment technology and product innovation, in line with technological advances and changes in cardholders’ habits.
He added that UnionPay will continue to improve its payment services, to facilitate the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
So far, UnionPay is accepted at almost all ATMs and POS terminals in Hong Kong and Macao, and a total of about 19 million UnionPay cards are issued in Hong Kong and Macao, according to the company.
It said UnionPay has become a common payment tool for Hong Kong and Macao residents and is also the only international card brand in Hong Kong that provides mobile payment for debit card holders.
In addition to mobile payment, UnionPay has continued to improve its payment service in Greater Bay Area by optimizing cardholders’ payment experience in various sectors.
It has issued a number of Greater Bay Area-themed cards in cooperation with banks in Guandong, Hong Kong and Macao, offering cardholders special benefits in cross-region travels and transactions.
UnionPay contactless payment is accepted at the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Intercity High-Speed Rail, the city subway in Guangzhou and Dongguan, taxis and tunnels in Hong Kong, most parking lots and all the bus lines in Macao. Cross-border buses and ferry between Hong Kong and the mainland accept UnionPay cards both online and offline for ticket purchase.
In the future, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail’s Hong Kong section will all support diverse UnionPay payment services, according to the company.
UnionPay International is a subsidiary of China UnionPay focusing on the growth and support of UnionPay’s global business.
In partnership with more than 1,800 institutions worldwide, UnionPay International has enabled card acceptance in 170 countries and regions and has issued UnionPay cards in 49 countries and regions.
As one of the largest bankcard service providers in the world, UnionPay is promoting its mobile payment products and services worldwide. It expected that not only Chinese customers but also overseas clients can use UnionPay mobile app through its cooperation with global partners.
According to the company, the UnionPay app is now available in 41 countries and regions worldwide, with the number of the app’s clients reaching near 80 million.
In Japan, payments through the app are getting increasing popular, especially in department stores, supermarkets and duty-free shops in airports, according to Cardwave, a Japanese magazine for the payment industry.
“More Japanese businesses are expected to cooperate with UnionPay for mobile payment as a result of increasing numbers of inbound tourists from China,” said a recent report on the magazine.
In June, UnionPay International announced a partnership with Bank of China (Canada) in enabling all the stores of Foodymart in Canada to accept UnionPay QR code payment. Some food and beverage dealers in California, the United States, have recently started accepting UnionPay QR code payment too. This is the first time that UnionPay’s QR code payment is launched in Canada and the United States, said the company.
It expected that the number of dealers accepting UnionPay QR code payment in North America will reach 5,000 within this year.
So far, almost all ATMs in the US accept UnionPay cards for cash withdrawal. More than 80 percent of merchants in the US accept UnionPay credit card. In Canada, as the top five banks have all carried out UnionPay cards acceptance, 90 percent ATMs and over 160,000 merchants accept UnionPay cards, according to the company.