Easier banking for Chinese tourists

8 April 2009

Standard Bank has partnered with China UnionPay to allow cardholders visiting South Africa to withdraw cash from over 4 300 Standard Bank ATM machines and make payments through its point-of-sale terminal network.

The two parties have started implementing the system, and expect it to be fully functional by the end of 2009.

Convenient, safe

By being able to withdraw cash and make payments directly at Standard Bank ATM machines and its merchant point-of-sale networks, China UnionPay cardholders will be offered a convenient, safe and cost-effective experience during their stay in South Africa.

“Our timely partnership with China UnionPay highlights the growing importance of Sino-African ties, with the increase in numbers of Chinese tourists coming to South Africa and in the rise of business activity between the two countries,” Standard Bank China CEO Craig Bond, who also heads the ICBC strategic partnership, said in a statement last week.

“We hope that this joint initiative and service will prove to be invaluable for China UnionPay cardholders as it marks a key milestone for Standard Bank and represents our first cooperation with a Chinese partner in the retail banking sector.”

China UnionPay is China’s only domestic credit card organisation and interbank network in mainland China, linking the ATMs of all major state banks and many smaller commercial banks throughout mainland China. By the end of 2008, 196 China UnionPay domestic member banks issued more than 1.8-billion cards.

Standard Bank is a leading credit card and debit card issuer in South Africa, with in excess of 9-million transactions a month being made through its point-of-sale terminals.

Emerging markets

China UnionPay vice president Cai Jianbo said they were very excited to be working with a major banking player in Africa, and were looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

“We are impressed with their knowledge on China, and are keen to explore similar initiatives in other emerging markets where Standard Bank has a strong presence,” he said.

According to South African Tourism Bureau, some 47&nbps;000 Chinese tourists visited South Africa in 2007, an 13% increase compared with 2006, making South Africa one of China’s fastest-growing tourist destinations.

With the Fifa World Cup due in 2010, Standard Bank expects a much larger number of Chinese tourists to visit the country, to both watch games and visit its famous sites.

SAinfo reporter

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