China UnionPay is no longer the little brother of traditional payment giants Visa and MasterCard. Though Visa has partnered with CUP as a regional co-branded card, the two have recently begun to come into conflict over how to continue with the relationship while still seeking growth as independent companies. The conflict began with a dispute over which payment system would be used with the co-branded cards, and CUP argued for more independence as they have relationships with many players and not just Visa. CUP has in response started issuing its own international cards for reasons UnionPay President Xu Luode said, “We need to strengthen our own capabilities to avoid such disputes.”
China UnionPay has announced that it will proceed with a single-branded solution worldwide. CUP has also begun to issue its first single-branded card in the United States, which will be marketed to Asian-American consumers who travel to the US and back to China and other nations. This card is a good solution for younger consumers who may be living in the US while studying and have family in their home country that would like to purchase US goods but cannot pay for them with a non-international card. All transactions would take place in USD and when settled would be converted to Yuan or the local currency of the account, based on CUP’s exchange rate. CUP has also begun moving into the Australian market place and is projection a growth of market reach to half of the countries payment terminals by the end of December. CUP is expecting growth of card holders up to 19 million by the end of 2014.
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