VocaLink and China Unionpay agreement gives Chinese visitors access to the UK ATMs

22 September 2008

VocaLink, the payment transaction specialist, has signed an agreement with China Unionpay (CUP), China’s national bankcard association. The agreement will enable CUP bankcards to be used in all LINK ATMs. This is the first time that a provider of financial services in the UK has entered into partnership with CUP. From early 2009 Chinese visitors to the UK will be able to withdraw sterling from the UK ATM network.

In 2007, 144,000 Chinese visitors came to the UK. This figure is expected to rise as there is growing interest in the UK due to the 2012 Olympics. Chinese visitors are bringing immense spending potential. In addition, around 100,000 Chinese students study in the UK. The LINK ATM network, supported by VocaLink’s switching solution, will enable visitors with CUP bankcards to withdraw cash from any LINK ATM. Currently, visitors have to carry cash or use dual-currency credit cards which carry a higher withdrawal fee.

CUP has over 1 billion payment cards in China and aims to be the world’s third major card scheme. Today CUP cards are accepted at ATMs across 45 countries and regions.

Marion King, chief executive at VocaLink, commented, “We are proud to be the first financial institution in the UK to enter into partnership with China Unionpay. Through the LINK scheme, CUP cardholders whether they are tourists, students or businessmen will have access to UK ATMs. We hope that this is but the first step in a longer-term relationship with China Unionpay.”

LIU Tinghuan, chairman of China Unionpay said, “China’s economy is developing rapidly with a significant increase in personal income. To meet the urgent demands from cardholders to use CUP card abroad, CUP is actively exploring international acceptance of CUP card. The UK is a major European destination for Chinese travellers and out-bound students, and therefore a key market for CUP. The signing of the cooperation agreement with LINK today is a remarkable progress for CUP’s international development.”

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