China tourists to use UnionPay cards soon

Friday, July 17, 2009
The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Inbound Chinese tourists will be allowed to use bank cards issued by China UnionPay Co., China's only national electronic payment network, to pay for their spending in Taiwan in September at the earliest, as the Cabinet-level Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has included such a liberalization measure in its newly revised regulations governing financial exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.

The liberalization measure is expected to greatly help stimulate the willingness of Chinese people to make trips to Taiwan, and boost their spending power in Taiwan.

Hsiao Chang-jui, deputy director general of the Bureau of Monetary Affairs, said Chinese holders of UnionPay cards will be able to spend with the cards in Taiwan starting from September at the earliest, after the FSC approves applications filed by domestic acquiring banks and the National Credit Card Center (NCCC) and the inking of contract between the NCCC and China UnionPay Co., Ltd.

Under the revised regulations governing cross-strait financial exchanges, domestic credit-card institutions can move to seek approval of the FSC for engaging in credit-card or debit-card dealings with China UnionPay Co., Ltd., mainly for the businesses of trading authorization and clearance. Domestic banks, though, have yet to be allowed to issue the cards for China UnionPay.

The NCCC has been well prepared for establishing a clearance mechanism for China UnionPay card; and industry sources said that there are now 30,000 card terminals on the island available for the use of the card.

The sources said that annual spending volume by the card holders will reach NT$100 billion in Taiwan, and domestic acquiring banks will be able to rake in NT$2 billion in annual fee income from the business.

China UnionPay has issued as many as 1.8 billion cards in China, which are actually a combination of debit cards and ATM (automated teller machine) bank cards, only allowing holders to make card spending against their banking deposits, without the credit function of credit card.

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