BOC, Mastercard join forces for over­seas debit card

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By WU YIYAO in Shanghai wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bank of China said it and pay­ment tech­nol­ogy com­pany Mastercard Inc jointly launched a debit card that en­ables pay­ments in 19 for­eign cur­ren­cies for Chi­nese card­holder. The move tar­gets the ex­pand­ing num­ber of bank card users who need pay­ment ser­vices over­seas but are with­out a credit card.

In­creas­ing num­ber of stu­dents study­ing over­seas, stay-at-home moth­ers and fa­thers, free­lancers, as well as re­tirees — who have demands for pay­ment ser­vices in other coun­tries or shop on over­seas online mar­ket­places — are a ris­ing force in the sec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try an­a­lysts, they are an in­creas­ing group of bank card users, and de­vel­op­ing pay­ment ser­vices tar­get­ing the seg­ment is one of the lat­est trends for pay­ment tech­nolo­gies providers.

Debit cards now ac­count for 70 per­cent of all pay­ment cards glob­ally and are ex­pected to grow to 72 per­cent by 2021, ac­cord­ing to data from fi­nan­cial con­sul­tants Re­tail Bank­ing Re­search.

Bryan Ma, prod­uct man­age­ment di­rec­tor of Mastercard, said the num­ber of ap­pli­cants for in­ter­na­tional debit cards was ris­ing fast, par­tic­u­larly among those who travel fre­quently and make big-ticket pay­ment from time to time.

Ma said flex­i­bil­ity was a key rea­son be­hind the pop­u­lar­ity of debit cards.

“For ex­am­ple, ap­pli­cants for in­ter­na­tional debit cards do not need to pro­vide in­come and as­sets own­er­ship doc­u­ments ... as re­quired for credit card ap­pli­cants,” he said.

“The debit card is also ac­ti­vated im­me­di­ately af­ter the ap­pli­ca­tion is ap­proved and can re­ceive in­ter­est from credit de­posits.”

The max­i­mum daily with­drawal amount for the in­ter­na­tional debit card­hold­ers is $1,000 daily through over­seas ATMs, and the cards en­able card­hold­ers to also make bigticket pay­ments, such as pay­ing tu­ition in over­seas mar­kets.

A fast-grow­ing num­ber of out­bound tourists and stu­dents from China are driv­ing up over­seas spend­ing by na­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the to­tal spend­ing of Chi­nese out­bound tourists in 2016 was $261 bil­lion. Over­seas spend­ing by Chi­nese out­bound tourists has been grow­ing in dou­ble dig­its since 2004.

Pay­ment ser­vices and pay­ment tech­nolo­gies providers have been com­pet­ing heav­ily to win Chi­nese card­hold­ers’ fa­vor.

Al­most all mar­ket play­ers have launched priv­i­leges and dis­counts for din­ing, ac­com­mo­da­tion, visa ap­pli­ca­tions, flights, cruises and online shop­ping.

Mo­bile pay­ments are one of the fastest-grow­ing pay­ment habits of Chi­nese con­sumers and mo­bile pay­ment ser­vices providers are also ex­pand­ing their foot­print glob­ally — en­abling users to make pay­ments through a touch of their phone key­pads or through scan­ning QR codes.

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