Home>Media Center>Company News
UnionPay to be accepted at all POS terminals in Kuwait

Cai Jianbo (right), CEO of UnionPay International and Abdullah Al-Ajmi, CEO of KNET jointly attended the signing ceremony

UnionPay International announced today that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with The Shared Electronic Banking Service Company (KNET) one of the largest processing National switches in the Gulf region at UnionPay Head Quarters in Shanghai which aims to accelerate the roll out of UnionPay’s Cards acceptance and Cards issuance in Kuwait market.

Cai Jianbo, CEO of UnionPay International and Abdullah Al-Ajmi, CEO of KNET jointly attended the signing ceremony.

KNET became UnionPay Third Party Service Provider (TPSP) in year 2015 and signed a joint cooperation agreement to connect joint UnionPay and KNET switches which gave UnionPay a quick market entry strategy extending their services to local banks in state of Kuwait which in return further strengthened the KNET role to benefit the local financial payment industry in Kuwait market by introducing UnionPay Card scheme as Market Game Changer to drive healthy competition, substantially save the costs for the local institutions and offer new differentiated compelling consumer services in Kuwait market.

Today UnionPay Cards are accepted in almost 45% of ATM’s in Kuwait market to serve local Chinese companies and internationally issued worldwide Cards travelling to Kuwait and aaccording to the cooperation agreement signed with KNET, the two parties will further deepen their collaboration to make breakthroughs in three aspects. 

Firstly, KNET has completed the modification of its POS switch system according to the UnionPay standards. The system will be connected to the local commercial banks and other POS acquirers, which will substantially increase UnionPay’s POS acceptance scope. 

Secondly, UnionPay contactless payment feature, including UnionPay IC card QuickPass and UnionPay mobile QuickPass, will be accepted at these merchant POS terminals which will tremendously fast track UnionPay’s expansion for UnionPay Cards acceptance in Kuwait market.

Thirdly and most importantly, the two parties have also agreed to build a centralized settlement hub that offers services to financial institutions in and around Kuwait to process settlement of UPI acquiring and issuing transactions on behalf of all local Kuwaiti banks. 

In simple terms, any new acquirer or issuer will simply become UnionPay member bank and there will be no need to spend any investment or time efforts to configure front or Back-Office clearing systems for future on boarding local Kuwaiti banks to accept or issue UnionPay Cards, simply become UnionPay member and start acquiring or issuing UPI Cards in short period of time. 

Mr. Cai Jianbo said, UnionPay International is strengthening collaboration with switch networks outside mainland China in recent years. On the one hand, we leverage on the market influence of the local networks to expand UnionPay’s business. On the other, we jointly improve the switch and settlement system of UnionPay cards in these markets to offer technical supports to the local institutions and merchants so that they can accept and issue UnionPay cards with greater ease. I believe this collaboration with KNET will drive the comprehensive development of UnionPay business in acceptance, issuance and mobile payments. 

To date, UnionPay is present in 11 countries and regions in the Middle East. For instance, UnionPay is accepted at all the POS terminals and ATMs in the UAE and Jordan, and between 50% to 95% POS and ATM acceptance coverage across remaining 9 markets such as Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait , Qatar and growing aggressively in other countries.

In addition, UnionPay cards are issued in Pakistan, UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, and Yemen and soon in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Turkey markets offering new payment options to local banks and differentiated compelling travel related benefits to the local customers travelling to China and Asia pacific markets.

Mr. Abdullah Al-Ajmi said, the signing of this agreement marks that the cooperation between KNET and UnionPay International has embarked on a new stage. It will facilitate the members of KNET to carry out UnionPay business. In the future, we are willing to further explore cooperation with UnionPay International in fields of QR code payment acceptance and card issuance, so as to drive the development of the payments industry in Kuwait.

Company News