UnionPay International (UPI) announced today its partnership with Postal Savings Bank, the largest state-owned bank in Serbia, and OTP Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The cooperation will allow a large number of Serbian ATMs and merchants to accept UnionPay cards. UPI will also cooperate with three major institutions to keep expanding UnionPay card acceptance in Serbia within this year.
Currently, 15 out of 17 CEE countries and regions accept UnionPay cards. The relationship grows closer as China actively assists in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 outbreak in the region. UPI has also been working extensively with local institutions to improve card acceptance. In the first half of this year, UPI enabled over 34,000 POS terminals in Croatia through its collaboration with Privredna banka Zagreb (PBZ). UnionPay cards have been supported by an increment of over 10,000 POS in Romania thanks to the partnership with Alpha Bank, the local acquirer that has already enabled UnionPay cards on all its ATMs. In addition, UPI is strengthening its cooperation with Borica, a Bulgarian payment switch, to achieve full acceptance in the country next year.
The Serbian Government, with the pandemic gradually leveling off in the country, is seeking to further strengthen its cooperation with China, as many Chinese people have expressed on social media their interest in visiting Serbia. UPI has already partnered with Postal Savings Bank to accept UnionPay cards on all its ATMs, contributing to a breakthrough of card acceptance in the country. To facilitate travels and exchanges between the two nations post-pandemic, both sides are taking the partnership one step further by enabling nearly 1,000 local merchants in sectors including retail, F&B, and hotel to take UnionPay cards. In addition, UPI is collaborating with OTP Bank for acceptance of UnionPay cards on hundreds of Serbian ATMs.
UniCredit Bank Serbia, Komercijalna banka, and Raiffeisen Bank will enable over 10,000 Serbian merchants to take UnionPay cards within this year.
At present, cardholders can use their UnionPay cards at over 4 million merchant locations in 90% of countries and regions in Europe. In Central and Eastern Europe, the acceptance coverage has exceeded 80% in Greece and reached 60% in Ukraine. Besides, more than half of merchants in markets such as Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania support UnionPay payments.