SHANGHAI, Dec. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- UnionPay International is sparing no efforts in expanding its acceptance network in Russia these days. It is expected that UnionPay will be accepted at more than 90% of the local ATMs and POS terminals before the 2018 World Cup, and cardholders will be able to enjoy convenient payment experiences in cities like Moscow, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and Volgograd. At present, the acceptance coverage of UnionPay in Russia is over 85%, with 400,000 POS terminals accepting UnionPay QuickPass, UnionPay's contactless payment solution.
Russia has become a popular destination for Chinese outbound tourists. According to the latest data, about 900,000 Chinese tourists of "visa-free" group tour visited Russia in 2017, witnessing a year-on-year growth of 18%; and it is expected that at least 100,000 Chinese tourists will visit Russia for the World Cup next summer. It is commented that convenient payment service has become a key element in enhancing Chinese tourists' travel experience in Russia.
UnionPay International kept enhancing its cooperation with the Russia's banking industry this year. In May, Sberbank started accepting UnionPay cards, substantially expanding UnionPay's acceptance scope. In August, VTB-24, which had fully accepted UnionPay at its ATMs further enabled all of its merchants to accept UnionPay cards. The number of UnionPay-accepting merchants and ATMs in Russia increased by over 100% in 2017 alone, reaching 630,000 merchants and 100,000 ATMs in total.
UnionPay QuickPass becomes a new feature of UnionPay's service in Russia. Recently, about 10,000 stores of X5, and Lenta megamarkets have fully accepted UnionPay cards, supporting UnionPay QuickPass as well. Customers may tap and pay with QuickPass-enabled smartphones and UnionPay IC cards. UnionPay is also accepted at BP and Rosneft across Russia. And Russian Railways will accept UnionPay cards at all its ticket counters and ticket machines at the beginning of 2018.
With UnionPay's acceptance network optimizing continuously in Russia, more and more local residents are signing up for UnionPay cards. About 1.3 million UnionPay cards are issued by over 10 local banks, including Gazprombank and Rosselkhozbank. In this July, UnionPay International reached card-issuance cooperation with NSPK, and NSPK's member bank Rosselkhozbank has issued the first UnionPay-MIR debit card, expanding the usage scope of MIR cards, which were only able to be used in Russia, to over 160 countries and regions where UnionPay is present.
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