Barclays Africa Enables UnionPay Card Acceptance at its ATMs and POS Networks

As a big step for substantially expanding its presence in Africa, UnionPay International with a massive 5 billion cards in issue, this week signed a deal with Barclays Africa. This agreement could not have come in a better time shortly after the announcement of partnership between ApplePay and SamsungPay with China UnionPay.

The agreement has significantly expands UnionPay’s presence in 10 African English speaking countries – Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda , Zambia and Zimbabwe, to provide more convenient card-using experience for global cardholders for travel, business and study purposes.

Barclays Africa is recognised as one of Africa’s largest retail and investment banking groups, with a history spanning more than 100 years on the continent, focusing on the delivery of a broad range of quality products and targeted innovation as the ‘Go-To’ bank in Africa.

Barclays Africa, similar to other Pan African Banks which accepts UnionPay cards will also provide Chinese interface on all their ATMs, which ensures convenient services to Chinese tourists as well as a growing number of global UnionPay cardholders.

In terms of the competitive advantage of enabling UnionPay cards by Pan African Banks, on the one hand, UnionPay offers marketing access to its vast cardholder base, making it more attractive from banks to acquire merchants, and making partner banks to stand-out from a fierce merchant acquiring competition. Additionally, UnionPay will give banks competitive edge and help partners taking market share from their competitors.

UnionPay International has set its footprint in Africa and is striving for rapid expansion around the world. To date, UnionPay cards are issued in over 40 countries and regions outside the Chinese mainland. UnionPay cards are accepted in over 150 countries and regions, covering over 27 million merchants and 1.9 million ATMs.

UnionPay’s transaction volume in Africa has grown significantly since 2007, which is a natural consequence of the extensive trade and business collaborative agreements signed between Africa and China, particularly in the areas of telecommunications, renewable energy initiatives and constructions.

UnionPay’s success in Africa is largely due to their understanding of developing countries’ requirements. It differs from its competitors in several other aspect: for instance, it is a membership association which provides more growth and exposure opportunities for its members.

UnionPay also provides competitive products that serve the needs of African markets, effectively contribute to financial inclusion, an area in which Africa has been lagging behind other continents. Financial inclusion, namely in terms of access – making financial services available and affordable to users; usage – making customers use financial services frequently and regularly and quality – making financial services tailored to clients’ needs.

“We look forward with our cooperation with Barclays Africa”, says Mr. Dong Li, Chief Branding Officer of UnionPay International, “This deal with Barclays Africa is a major step forward in our African strategy. Our business is built on partnerships, and this deal is to the benefit of both parties – Barclays now have the access to the growing global cardholder base which also contribute to the expansion of UnionPay global strategy.”

“We are proud to be associated with UnionPay. This partnership enhances Barclays Africa’s offering as a global bank that makes the lives of all customers much easier wherever they might be on the African continent.

The agreement means that any one of the more than 5-billion UnionPay cardholders will be able to make use of Barclays Africa’s extensive network of point of sale (POS) devices and ATMs across Africa. Additionally the interface will be available in Chinese which provides even greater convenience and confidence for UnionPay customers.

With the largest POS and ATM footprint in Africa and a rich history spanning more than 100 years, Barclays Africa together with UnionPay will offer customers unparalleled access and convenience,” says Mr. Craig Bond, Chief Executive of Retail and Business Banking, Barclays Africa.

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