Together with other distinguished guests, Ambassador Wu Peng (second from left) and Chairman Li Jichang (fourth from left) attend the launch ceremony. Photo by Liu Hongjie/China Daily
China UnionPay and the State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) jointly launched debit and prepaid cards in Kenya's capital Nairobi on Thursday.
According to Li Jichang, chairman of both SBM Group and the UnionPay Africa Regional Council, the introduction of UnionPay payment system deepens its relationship with SBM group and will now enable SBM clients to gain access to the UnionPay network. Accepted in 174 countries and regions with issuance in 55 countries and regions, it is the No. 1 payment solution in the world, ahead of VISA and Mastercard.
"In partnership with more than 2,000 institutions worldwide, our clients at SBM Kenya will now benefit from cross borders facilities as well as UnionPay's high quality and secured services," said Li.
The SBM UnionPay cards can be used to pay for purchases or access cash at any UnionPay accepted shopping outlet or automatic teller machines (ATMs). They can also be used for e-commerce (online) shopping on secure websites on the internet. These outlets include restaurants, airlines, hotels, duty free shops at airports, retail shops, supermarkets, dry cleaners, movie theaters, pharmacies, petrol stations and medical facilities.
Paying for goods and services using the SBM UnionPay cards at retail merchant POS is free. And with Quick Pass or NFC technology, SBM UnionPay cardholders will be able to make secure low value transactions without a PIN code, which is also called the "tap and pay" service.
Chairman Li Jichang delivers a speech at the ceremony. Photo by Liu Hongjie/China Daily
Li also revealed that the introduction of UnionPay cards in SBM Bank Kenya enhances SBM's scope to encourage a cashless society in Africa, where currently 50 countries have incorporated UnionPay cards.
"In collaboration with UnionPay, SBM hopes to further extend its digital products in Africa", said the chairman.
Wu Peng, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, hailed the joint adventure between UnionPay and SBM in Kenya, saying it indicated the strong business links between China and Kenya.
He also expressed his support to UnionPay to extend its financial services out of China, especially to the countries and regions participating in the Belt and Road Initiative to the benefit of Chinese and foreign customers.
Established in 1973, SBM has a strong franchise in Mauritius, with a market share of more than 20 percent in domestic advances and deposits. The group is also present in India, Madagascar and Kenya, and also holds a banking license to operate in the Seychelles.
Besides its various operations throughout Mauritius, the SBM Group aims to facilitate cross-border financing opportunities for trade and investment along the Asia-Africa corridor. It has consistently ranked among the Top 1,000 world banks by The Banker magazine, a publication of the Financial Times, and was awarded The Banker's "Bank of the Year Mauritius 2018".
China UnionPay, founded in March 2002, is an association of 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 inter-bank network in China that links all the ATMs of all banks throughout the country.
It is the largest card payment organization (debit and credit cards combined) in the world offering mobile and online payments based on total value of payment transactions.