China’s UnionPay Launches First Card to be Issued in the US

China’s state-backed payments network China UnionPay (CUP) has launched its first payment card to be issued directly to US consumers at a presentation in New York.

Under a partnership with Bancorp Bank, the UnionPay prepaid card will be sold online and in bank branches across major US cities. The card, which is denominated in US dollars, is being marketed primarily to Asian-American consumers for use in making purchases when they travel to China and other countries where the UnionPay card is accepted.

Customers will also be able to use the card in the US at merchants that accept cards from UnionPay or Discover Financial Services (DFS), which has an existing relationship with the Chinese group.

The launch marks the latest phase of CUP’s strategy to expand its business outside of China by increasing the number of merchants that accept its cards and striking deals with foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to issue its cards to consumers.


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