Although Greece is in the debt dumpster and China’s UnionPay (CUP) is afraid of Visa’s and MasterCard’s entry into China next year, CUP has accelerated cooperation with multiple mainstream institutions and acceptance coverage of UnionPay cards reached 60% and 40% for ATMs and merchants respectively, basically encompassing places frequently visited by tourists.
It is expected that UnionPay card acceptance will increase to 80% of the local ATMs by the third quarter of this year.
The recent financial control in Greece, an emerging hot destination in Europe, does not affect normal travel. UnionPay cards issued in China are not subject to the withdrawal limit arising from local cash control. Tourists can choose to exchange for a certain amount of Euro at home or withdraw cash at the ATMs of Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank locally. Merchants accepting UnionPay cards include major boutiques, jewelry shops, watch and clock shops, souvenir shops as well as hotels, restaurants and museums. Cardholders can use UnionPay cards in about 90% of the merchants at the commercial districts around Syntagma Square and Acropolis Old Town – Plaka. As for Santorini and Miklos favored by tourists, more than 60% and 85% of the merchants there accept UnionPay cards respectively.
At present, UnionPay International has established business relationship with three of the four major banks in Greece, including Alpha Bank, the largest local acquirer. It has recently enabled nearly 50,000 POS terminals and all of 1,200 ATMs under its flag to accept UnionPay cards and the remaining thousands of POS terminals will be enabled soon. As a result, the acceptance of UnionPay cards is extended to gas stations, supermarkets and other places. In September 2015, EuroBank will enable UnionPay card acceptance at all of its 1,000 ATMs, expanding UnionPay cards acceptance in Greece to 80% of ATMs. In the meantime, EuroBank and Piraeus Bank intend to enable their merchants to accept UnionPay cards.
Currently, the UnionPay card business has been launched in 38 European countries and regions. In the UK, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal, almost all of the ATMs accept UnionPay cards. In France, Italy, Spain, Germany and other European countries favored by tourists, merchants accepting UnionPay cards include major shopping centers and duty-free shops and exclusive privileges and services of UnionPay cards are delivered in many hotels and restaurants.
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