Russia’s Gazprombank Starts Issuing China's UnionPay Cards

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Gazprombank, one of the top three Russian banks, has started issuing China's UnionPay (CUP) cards, according to a statement published Monday by the bank.

MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) — Gazprombank, one of the top three Russian banks, has started issuing China's UnionPay (CUP) cards, according to a statement published Monday by the bank.

"Clients of the bank will be able to receive UnionPay cards with a new account or as a supplementary card to the already existing accounts of Gazprombank's cards under the VISA/MasterCard scheme," the statement published on Gazprombank's website reads.

Gazprombank will issue the cards in Classic, Gold and Platinum categories.

In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to establish a national payment system after Visa and MasterCard stopped servicing cards of some Russian banks as part of the United States and the European Union's sanctions against Russia.

CUP and Japan's JCB are considered to be the alternatives to Visa and MasterCard. CUP is one of the world's leading bankcard associations, dominating markets in the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Turkey.

In July, Fen Zhiguang, a CUP representative in Russia, said the company plans to increase the number of UnionPay debit and credit cards to 2 million over the next three years. The representative also noted that the company has acquired about 30 new partner banks in Russia.

Gazprombank started cooperating with CUP in 2009, and in April 2014 signed a memorandum on extending cooperation with UnionPay International (a CUP subsidiary), which envisaged the bank's issuing of UnionPay cards. Gazprombank has issued hundreds of thousands cards.

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