Equity Bank appointed China UnionPayâ€™s sole agent in East Africa.
China UnionPay cards to be accepted on Equity Bankâ€™s ATMs and Point of Sale terminals countrywide.
Equity Bank has signed up with the China UnionPay to allow its customers in Kenya and throughout East Africa to make transactions from Equityâ€™s ATMs and Points of Sale. China UnionPay cards will be accepted at Equity Bankâ€™s 700 ATMs, 5,000 Points of Sale and over 1,000 merchant outlets worldwide, offering the Unionâ€™s customers a convenient and wider network.
Equally, Equity Bank customers on VISA will be able to access their accounts from China UnionPayâ€™s ATMs and POS all around the world, making it easy and convenience for Kenyaâ€™s business community that imports goods from China to transact business. With the signing up of the new deal, Equity becomes China UnionPayâ€™s sole agent in East Africa, and is the third bank in the continent to sign up the service after South Africa and Mauritius.
China UnionPay has issued over 2.3 billion cards globally, offering a wide market for its partners. Last year alone, it recorded over 1 trillion transactions globally.Kenya has also been keen to have close ties with China which has become a major global economic partner.
The Chinese population in East Africa has been growing steadily over the years, with Chinaâ€™s massive investments in infrastructure development, energy, oil and mineral exploration. Kenyaâ€™s bilateral relationship with China has also been boosted recently as the country positions itself as a major Chinese tourist destination.
It is estimated that 20,000 Chinese tourists visit Kenya every year with the figure expected to rise to at least 100,000 per year in the next three years. Earlier this year, Equity Bank signed a Sh4 billion loan in support of the SME sector in Kenya with the China Development Bank, offering the cheapest source of funding for the sector in the country.
Equity Bank recently acquired an online Card Management System known as Way 4 System from OpenWay Group, designed for multi-institution and multi-currency transaction processing, and has the ability to handle over 60 million cards with speed performance of 180,000 transactions per minute.
The system which received the highest possible rating by Gartner – the top organization for rating software in the world- also provides support for non-card based transactions over multiple self service channels, and also transacts different currencies. Equity Bank customers can use their cards at all Equity Bank terminals within the region.
Equity Bank is the first Bank in East Africa to comply with all PCI/DSS and EMV standards.
About China UnionPay
China UnionPay, also known as UnionPay or by its abbreviation, CUP, is the only domestic credit card organization in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Founded in March 2002, China UnionPay is an association for China’s banking card industry, operating under the approval of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC, central bank of China). It is also the only interbank network in China excluding Hong Kong and Macau, linking the ATMs of some fourteen major banks and many smaller banks throughout mainland China. It is also an EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) network.
Almost all UnionPay Credit Cards are also affiliated with American Express, MasterCard or VISA, and they can be used abroad as an American Express, MasterCard or VISA. UnionPay Debit Cards, however, can only be used in the UnionPay network and a few other networks that have signed contracts with UnionPay.
Countries that accept UnionPay cards outside China include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, South Africa and the United States. UnionPay cards are also making inroads into other countries’ interbank networks, with some networks, such as BancNet in the Philippines, already accepting UnionPay cards at the ATM level and the point-of-sale.