UnionPay to widen global issue of single-branded cards
Over the next two to three years, the Chinese company plans to significantly increase its global footprint from the current 141 countries and regions, said UnionPay President Xu Luode.
Ninety-five percent of debit cards issued by UnionPay on the Chinese mainland are single-branded, meaning that all transactions can only go through the UnionPay payment channel.
Xu said about half of credit cards are co-branded with international players such as Visa and MasterCard, but his firm will try to lower the proportion in the next few years as its own overseas network expands rapidly.
UnionPay has issued more than 16 million cards abroad, which are all single-branded cards bearing the UnionPay logo only, he said. He now expects that number to soar by between 30 and 50 percent annually over the next three years.
According to Chinese laws, foreign credit card companies need to co-brand with Chinese partners to support card services or process interbank point-of-sale transactions.