Learn about the benefits and features of UnionPay credit and debit cards.
Visa, Mastercard and American Express are some of the world’s largest credit payment processors but relative newcomer UnionPay is already making waves in Singapore.
So what is UnionPay and how does it stack up against its competitors? In this guide, we’ll cover the key features of UnionPay cards and look at some of the available options so that you can choose one that works for you.
What is UnionPay?
Headquartered in Shanghai, UnionPay, also known as China UnionPay (CUP), is a financial services corporation and a digital payment method founded in 2002. Like Visa and Mastercard, UnionPay processes the transactions placed on both credit and debit cards under its payment network. In China, it is the only interbank network connecting the ATMs of all banks throughout the country. It is also an electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) network.
In less than two decades, UnionPay has overtaken Visa and Mastercard to be the largest card payment organisation in the world offering mobile and online payments. At the time of writing (February 2019), UnionPay is accepted in 168 countries and regions outside the Chinese mainland, covering 51 million merchants and 2.57 million ATMs.
What UnionPay debit and credit cards are available in Singapore?
The following UnionPay credit cards are available in Singapore:
BOC Dual Currency Diamond Card
Take advantage of the convenience of the card’s dual mode of payment, which provides you with the option of paying in either Singapore dollars (SGD) or Chinese Renminbi (RMB). There will also be no currency exchanges fees for all transactions in RMB. As the UnionPay has the widest payment network in China, you can use the card to pay for purchases at over 24 million merchant terminals and withdraw cash any time at over 210,000 ATMs throughout China. Cardholders can also enjoy other features such as:
- Annual fee waivers
- Discounted remittance fees at Bank of China branches
- Increased BOC Rewards Points on foreign spending
- Cash rebates for eligible purchases at selected merchants
ICBC UnionPay Dual Currency Credit Card
The ICBC UnionPay Dual Currency Credit Card is a widely accepted card offering an attractive cashback reward program with a required minimum spend every month. It is a dual currency credit with the advantage of transacting in either Singapore Dollars (SGD) or Chinese Renminbi (RMB) with a currency conversion fee waiver.
- Annual fee waivers
- Cashback on eligible transactions
- Preferential RMB cash advance rates
ICBC Koipy Dual Currency Credit Card
Suited to those who travel between China and Singapore frequently, or make transactions in both Singapore Dollars (SGD) and Chinese Renminbi (RMB), the ICBC Koipy Dual Currency credit card provides the flexibility of transacting conveniently in SGD or RMB without having to pay any currency conversion fee. All transactions made in Mainland China will be automatically charged in RMB. Some other highlights of this card are:
- Annual fee waivers
- Cashback on eligible transactions
- Low cash advance fees at ATMs in Mainland China
- Exclusive dining privileges at ICBC-Koipy selected merchants
UOB UnionPay Platinum Card
Enjoy worldwide acceptance at over 41 million establishments and same-day delivery upon successful approval of the UOB UnionPay Platinum card. Some of the key features and benefits of this card are:
- Cash rebates on all transactions with no minimum spend
- Savings at over 100 international airport duty-free shops
- Fuel savings at SPC petrol stations
DBS UnionPay Platinum Debit Card
Earn cashback and enjoy exclusive merchant deals worldwide with the DBS UnionPay Platinum Debit card. With wide acceptance at over 35 million merchants and 2 million ATMs in China and beyond, the DBS UnionPay Platinum Debit card allows cardholders who often travel between Singapore and China to access their funds easily. Here are the main benefits of the DBS UnionPay Platinum Debit card:
- Cashback rewards on eligible local and foreign spending
- Fee waiver on overseas ATM cash withdrawals
- Tap and pay transactions with UnionPay QuickPass
BOC UnionPay Dual Currency Debit Card
This dual currency card provides the convenience of making payments in both Singapore Dollars (SGD) and Chinese Renminbi (RMB) around the world without any risk of exchange rate fluctuations. If your RMB sub-account balance is insufficient to complete a payment, it will be automatically deducted from your SGD sub-account based on BOC’s real-time exchange rate.
- Cash rebates for both local and international transactions (subject to minimum spending requirements)
- Equipped with EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) chip that provides 24-hour SMS notification of your transactions
- Lifetime annual fee waiver
What features do UnionPay credit cards offer?
Some of the features you can expect from a UnionPay credit card include:
- Worldwide acceptance.UnionPay is one of the world’s largest international card schemes. It is accepted in 168 countries and regions, covering 51 million merchants and 2.57 million ATMs around the world.
- 100% acceptance in China. Apart from major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, many cities in China do not accept Visa and Mastercard. With a UnionPay card, you can travel cashless with a peace of mind.
- Contactless payment. Cardholders can make payments quickly and securely with UnionPay QuickPass, which offers both offline contactless and online in-app payment with mobile devices.
- Worldwide assistance service. UnionPay premium cardholders are entitled to a full range of exclusive privileges such as 24-hour concierge service, medical assistance, overseas travel assistance, high-end travel insurance and more.
- Chinese visa application express service. VIP counters at Chinese visa application service centres in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea provides exclusive services, such as priority queues to help expedite the entire visa application process for UnionPay cardholders.
What are the drawbacks to a UnionPay credit card?
- Fewer promotions compared to Mastercard and Visa. As UnionPay is still gaining traction in Singapore, Mastercard and Visa cardholders stand to enjoy more deals with the majority of local establishments, online stores and independent boutiques.
- Fewer credit and debit card options. There are limited options for UnionPay credit and debit cards in Singapore.
How can I apply for a UnionPay credit card?
If you’ve decided that a UnionPay card could work for you, head to the respective card issuing bank’s website to complete your online application. Typically, an online application should take around 15 minutes, and you’ll get a response from the bank straight away. Before you apply, make sure you’ve met the bank’s eligibility requirements and have the necessary documents on hand. Alternatively, you can also visit the nearest bank branch to apply in person.
The eligibility criteria and required documents may differ depending on the card and issuing bank, but they generally require applicants to meet the following:
- Earn at least S$30,000 to S$50,000 p.a.
- Have a good credit rating
- Be at least 21 years or older for the principal cardholder and at least 18 years of age for supplementary card applicants
- Duly completed and signed application form
- Photocopy of your NRIC or passport (front and back)
- Photocopy of Employment pass with at least 1-year validity (for foreigners only)
- For salaried employees: eCPF statement contribution, computerised payslips for the last three months, OR the latest Notice of Assessment with last month’s computerised payslip
- For self-employed or commission-based earners: Notice of Assessment for the last two years
- Identification documents for supplementary applicant(s), if any
- A billing proof (e.g. latest mobile bill, utility bill or bank statement) displaying your full name and mailing address
Frequently asked questions