In addition to Visa and MasterCard, Steward Bank has also joined the global network of UnionPay, the world’s card payment company. The partnership will see customers being able to make payments using UnionPay cards at all Steward Bank’s terminals. Union Pay International’s general manager for Africa, Luping Zhang said:
The scope of our co-operation enables Union Pay cards to be accepted in all Steward Bank merchants, points of sale devices and online through e-commerce. Steward Bank will issue Union Pay cards to individuals, traders and corporates from Zimbabwe travelling for easy payment services in China and the rest of the world
UnionPay is well ahead of the well known American brands, which are Visa and MasterCard. That brings me to say that the card essentially works like MasterCard and Visa.
Broadly speaking, customers will be able to make payments internationally using UnionPay Cards that Steward bank will be issuing. With many Zimbabweans now buying stuff from China, you’d be better off getting the UnionPay Card instead of carrying cash to China. It’s just a matter of pre-funding the UnionPay card/account before you board the plane. Besides using the UnionPay card in China, there are 162 countries where you can use it too.
Who can have it
Steward bank hasn’t yet divulged the nitty-gritty requirements that you’d have to meet to get the UnionPay Card. What we only know right now is that anyone can get the card by simply walking into Steward, provided you satisfy the yet-to-be-known requirements. As reported by Newsday, Steward Bank’s Payments and Digital Financial Services head, Tapera Mushoriwa said:
Basically, what we are going to do is to launch a prepaid card initially…Our prepaid card will be available to everyone under KYC , where you can walk across the counter, fund your card and be able to transact anywhere globally where there is a UPI acceptance point.
So, we are not bringing this product specifically for Steward Bank customers, we are bringing this product for every Zimbabwean who has an international payment they need to make.
This partnership is yet another breakthrough for UnionPay in Zimbabwe’s financial sector as it is also working with Standard Chartered Bank of Zimbabwe and CABS. If you couple that with the partnerships UnionPay is getting into in other countries (like Kenya and, Tanzania Seychelles), it stands to reason that UnionPay is here to challenge the dominance of MasterCard and Visa.