Payments processing company Barclaycard has formed a card acceptance partnership with UnionPay International, a subsidiary of China UnionPay.
The deal will enable the credit and debit card transactions company’s 110,000 UK merchants to accept UnionPay through a phased roll out that will begin this summer.
UnionPay has the world’s largest cardholder base and processes more than half of the UK’s card payments. According to the company, it is the preferred payment brand for many Chinese visiting the UK.
Cardholders will pay with their UnionPay cards and mobile payment products, both in-store and online, across Barclaycard’s UK merchant network – which includes retailers, transport providers, hotels and restaurants.
The tie-up also presents an opportunity for British retailers to simplify the UK shopping experience for international travellers by allowing purchases with travellers’ preferred payment method.
The UK is expecting a boost in visits from China in 2019, with Visit Britain indicating that bookings are up 31 percent from January to June this year compared to the same period in 2018.
Barclaycard said visitors from China are some of the UK’s highest spenders, spending on average £2,059 each per visit, more than three times the all-market visitor average.
Rob Cameron, chief executive officer of payment acceptance at Barclaycard, said: “We have invested in our payments platform so that our merchants can seamlessly accept the different payment options that their customers want to use.
“With the world’s largest cardholder base, we’re excited to add UnionPay as a partner and open up acceptance to our 110,000 UK merchants.
“China is one of the UK’s most valuable inbound visitor markets, and this deal means our UK merchants will be able to better serve Chinese and global consumers who choose UnionPay as their preferred payment method when shopping online or in-store.”
Wei Zhihong, UnionPay’s market director, and head of its European branch, added: “The UK remains an attractive destination for Chinese tourists and we are delighted to be partnering with Barclaycard in growing our network of acceptance. This announcement represents yet another step forward in our rapidly expanding global footprint.
“The UK remains a strategically important and growing market for UnionPay and, with Chinese visitors set to increase, today’s partnership will enable them to more easily and conveniently shop at a much greater number of British merchants.
“This will obviously be advantageous to UnionPay cardholders, whether Chinese or European, as well as to the UK domestic economy.”