UnionPay International (UPI) announced today that it has reached cooperation with NIC Asia of Nepal to issue UnionPay virtual cards and physical cards through UPI SaaS Card Issuing Service Platform (SCIS for short). NIC Asia thus becomes the first institution to access SCIS, which enables it to issue UnionPay cards at a lower cost and higher efficiency. On the same day, UPI also reached partnership with Nepal Investment Bank (NIBL), the second largest bank in Nepal, in card acceptance and issuance. The two parties will jointly issue the first UnionPay credit card in Nepal. Mr. Cai Jianbo, Chairman of UnionPay International, attended the aforementioned business cooperation ceremonies.
In Nepal, the acceptance coverage of UnionPay cards is close to 70%, and 29 local institutions have issued UnionPay cards. In July this year, UPI was granted by Nepal Rastra Bank (the Central Bank of Nepal) with the country’s first PSO (Payment Systems Operator) license held by an international company. With this license, UnionPay became the only international card brand allowed to carry out e-wallet and QR code payment business in Nepal. The UnionPay QR code standard has been widely accepted by the Nepalese mobile payment industry. Due to the common adoption of the UnionPay QR code standard, local e-wallets and QR code accepting merchants have achieved interconnection and interoperability. So far, the local e-wallet Qpay has issued about 200,000 UnionPay virtual cards, which can be used at tens of thousands of merchants of 6 acquirers that accept UnionPay QR code payment.
Cai Jianbo said that in the context of China and Nepal’s joint construction of the ‘Belt and Road’, UPI is stepping up its business in Nepal by various means: First is to continue improving its card acceptance environment to promote all the local ATMs and merchants to accept UnionPay cards. Second is to innovate in card issuing business models and to leverage the advantages of UPI’s digital technology platforms to bring more UnionPay card services to local residents. Third is to seize the advantage of being the pioneer in mobile payments in Nepal to partner with major local e-wallet companies to build a mobile payment ecosystem.
In answer to the development trend of the global payment industry, UnionPay International has built a series of digital technology service platforms to provide cooperative institutions with full-process and efficient technical support to accelerate the interconnection among various mobile applications based on the UnionPay QR code standard. Through SCIS, NIC Asia will issue UnionPay virtual cards on a large scale via NIC Asia’s e-wallet product. This card issuing method has the advantages of high efficiency, low cost, strict security standards, and can automatically access UnionPay acceptance network and digital services. Next, NIC Asia will also issue multiple UnionPay physical card products through this platform.
UPI has also reached cooperation with the Nepal Investment Bank, which will enable all its POS terminals and ATMs to accept UnionPay cards. Through this cooperation, UnionPay will reach 100% acceptance in Nepal within this year. The two sides also plan to issue more than 60,000 UnionPay cards in Nepal to further enrich the local UnionPay card product portfolio.
As of today, over 120 million UnionPay cards have been issued in 57 countries and regions outside mainland China. Innovation has become an important driving force for UnionPay’s overseas card issuance. A number of e-wallet products in Hong Kong, Singapore, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and more markets have been enabled with UnionPay virtual card issuance function. Users of these apps can sign up for a UnionPay virtual card online to enjoy UnionPay mobile payment service, without the need to have a UnionPay physical card.