China Union Pay’s Online Payment Platform

Written by Ken Ding || August 02 2011

On June 8th, China Union Pay (CUP), China’s bankcard association, released two non-card payment products – Union Pay Online Payment and Mobile Payment thus completing the setup of the company’s non-card online payment platform, built on Union Pay’s bankcard transaction settlement system and characterized by its open type, advanced technology, high efficiency and security.


Achieving interoperability of Union Pay Cards across China is an essential responsibility of Union Pay who, since 2002, has managed the inter-bank transaction settlement platform for commercial banks, merchants and cardholders throughout China. By the end of 2010, over 1.5 billion Union Pay standard cards have been issued and there are more than 1.5 million merchants, 2.5 million POS terminals and 200 thousand ATM terminals accepting CUP cards in China. All in all, the achievement of CUP’s offline interoperability has greatly promoted the proliferation of bankcards in China.

Nowadays, the extensive use of Internet Shopping in China has increased the demands put on online payment systems. To meet these demands, CUP recently launched its online payment products which provide a fast and safe switching platform for commercial banks, merchants, Third-party payment companies and card holders which represents a significant step for CUP’s online interoperability.

Available services on the platform include:

  • Normal Online Payment
  • Charity donation
  • Travel reservations
  • Credit card repayment
  • Internet shopping from oversea and domestic merchants

Types of payments on the system include:

  1. Normal online banking payment: customers must register an online bank account first. When they need to pay through CUP’s online payment website, the website will jump to the bank’s online banking website directly.
  2. Certification payment: customers need not to have an online bank account. Any customer just inputs information of his/her CUP bankcard, mobile phone number and certification number to finish the payment
  3. Quick payment: After registering on the website and linking one of CUP bank cards to the website, next time the customer just need to choose the bankcard and input certification number to finish the payment.
  4. Prepaid card payment: currently, it only accepts “Yintong Card” prepaid card, the first Union Pay-standard prepaid card issued by BOC Expresspay.

Because of CUP’s current very open standards outlook, the online payment platform has attracted many commercial banks, merchants and even Third-party payment companies to join. Over 300 merchants are cooperating with CUP in just the one month since the platform’s launch, including China Railway, Eastern Airline, MetersBonwe, 360buy.

“CUP’s brand has a great influence which can elevate customers’ confidence and promote the development of online shopping.” said Mr. Chu, the vice president of 360buy (360buy is China’s biggest B2C online retailer with over 35% market share). He believes CUP’s online payment products are easier to access for customers and can provide better shopping experience. After stopping the collaboration with Alipay, China’s biggest Third-party online payment company, 360buy joined the CUP platform and will be launching several large promotions over the summer conduct a strong promotion during this summer.

In addition to companies like 360buy, there have been over 90 commercial banks connecting with CUP’s payment platform, including major commercial bank in China and some foreign banks. CUP expects over 200 financial institutions will join in by the end of this year.