Standard Bank Enables African Entrepreneurs, Importers to Use Digital Cash in China

Africa’s biggest bank Standard Bank is also the first African bank to receive the license to issue UnionPay cards in South Africa.

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DIGITAL ECONOMY over a smart phone on blur background , business technology concept
DIGITAL ECONOMY over a smart phone on blur background , business technology concept (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

In a dual development set to transform Africa’s access to China as well as simplify the ability of Chinese to transact in Africa, Standard Bank has signed an agreement with UnionPay International to accept UnionPay cards in multiple African markets.

“African entrepreneurs and importers of Chinese goods and services have, traditionally, had to travel to China carrying foreign currency in cash for conversion into renminbi,” said George Lo, executive head: Pan Africa China Banking at Standard Bank.

Going forward, Standard Bank cards or online transaction solutions will provide access to all UnionPay-enabled platforms in China, and Africans dealing with China will no longer need to travel with cash.

Instead, “they will soon be able to purchase goods directly from suppliers throughout China at the swipe of a card,” explains Lo.

UnionPay is one of the world’s leading card payments systems and hosts the majority of transactions in China. As such, Standard Bank’s agreement to accept UnionPay cards in multiple African markets by the end of 2018 broadens the geographic footprint – and potential customer reach – of UnionPay in Africa.

Larry Wang, Vice President of UnionPay International was, “excited to be working with Standard Bank, Africa’s biggest bank, which provides UnionPay an unrivalled platform with unmatched reach across Africa.

UnionPay strives to ensure convenient and safe payment services to a growing number of global UnionPay cardholders visiting Africa, an increasingly important business and leisure destination.

From an African perspective, the agreement with UnionPay International provides Africans with direct access to China, including China’s highly developed electronic and mobile transaction platforms.

Standard bank partners with Union Pay International to provide Africa with cashless acces to China
Standard bank partners with Union Pay International to provide Africa with cashless acces to China

Lincoln Mali, Group Head: Group Cards & Emerging Payments at Standard Bank, “the combination of Standard Bank’s existing relationship with ICBC and now also UnionPay International is likely, in time, to obviate the need for Africans to travel to China at all.”

Standard Bank card holders will be able to access China’s ecommerce marketplace.

“This will allow African traders to locate and select goods remotely and then pay for them electronically via their Standard Bank cards. Going forward this will happen, “from desks, laptops and phones in Africa – without Standard Bank clients having to move physical cash, convert currency or travel to China,” adds Mali.

Standard Bank
Standard Bank (Photo Credit: Techunzipped)

From a Chinese perspective, travelling, operating and transacting in Africa’s multi-jurisdictional and multi-currency landscapes will also become dramatically easier.

“At the swipe of a card at any Standard Bank hosted point of sale – or through simple internet banking – the need for Chinese business people or tourists to carry physical cash or convert and transfer foreign currency falls away,” adds Lo.

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