The world’s CUP

The continued rise of CUP is another example of the global impact the growing Chinese economy has on the rest of the world.

China UnionPay (CUP), more commonly now referred to as just UnionPay, is the primary domestic bank card business in China, which effectively links all ATM machines throughout China and acts as the only EFTPOS system.  CUP can also be used overseas and is now accepted in 141 countries around the world, making it the third most accepted card globally behind only Visa and MasterCard.  A fact which is especially impressive as UnionPay was only formed in 2002, making the brand 44 years younger than Visa, 36 years younger than MasterCard and an incredible 152 years younger than Amex (the fourth place runner)!

UnionPay is now the largest card type by cardholder, with 4.2 billion cards or 50.6% of all cards in circulation globally carrying the UnionPay symbol. Which is good news for Chinese travellers as they can now spend their RMB (currency of People's Republic of China) around the world without paying conversion fees on transactions or cash withdrawals that are simply charged at the appropriate intraday exchange rate.

The card’s international adoption has been good for Australian and New Zealand businesses too, as has the continued increase in Chinese visitor numbers.  A Chinese visitor is 20 times more likely to enter a shop displaying the UnionPay logo and Chinese visitors spend $4.8 billion in Australia alone each year.  When Chinese visitors transact internationally they spend more with UnionPay, with the average CUP transaction being double that of other debit and credit cards.

Across Australia and New Zealand, 220,00 merchants now accept UnionPay and the symbol is becoming ubiquitous in domestic high streets – although probably not quite at the 99% brand recall level that UnionPay enjoys in China.

So what’s next for this powerhouse global card?  Mobile it would seem.  With Alipay dominating the Chinese mobile payments market with 400 million registered users completing over 42 billion transactions so far, mobile has to be the new battle ground for the genuine World’s CUP.