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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 11, 2016 • Issue 16:01:01

China UnionPay expands mPOS options

Strategic initiatives at China UnionPay are expanding mobile POS (mPOS) options for cardholders at home and abroad. Developments include the launch of the QuickPass mobile payments scheme and strategic partnerships with leading mPOS providers worldwide. UnionPay anticipates its array of payment-enabling technologies will increase the company's worldwide cardholder base and advance secure payment technologies.

In a recent public statement, Chai Hongfeng, China UnionPay Executive Vice President, said the company is committed to "providing secure, convenient mobile payment experiences for its hundreds of millions of cardholders."

The company launched the QuickPass mobile wallet Dec. 12, 2015, a collaborative venture with 20 commercial banks designed to be broadly compatible with an array of mPOS payment schemes. More than 10,000 merchant locations and 25 franchise chains in China are already accepting QuickPass. Participating retailers include Carrefour, McDonald's, Watsons, FamilyMart, and COSTA, with additional partners planned, the company stated.

Advanced security

QuickPass represents the latest in a series of collaborative efforts in recent years by China UnionPay and leading mobile network operators, smartphone manufacturers and wearable-technology developers. Compatible with iOS and Android smartphones, QuickPass provides an added security layer by leveraging Host Card Emulation and secure tokenization technologies, China UnionPay reported. Additional security is facilitated through cryptographic keys and cloud verification designed to shield cardholder account information at the POS.

"It only takes a smartphone with NFC functions (coupled with Android 4.4.2 operating system or above) to create a bankcard substitute – the QuickPass card," UnionPay stated in a recent media briefing. "The smartphone can then be used for making tap-and-go payments at any POS terminals with QuickPass signage or for secure online payment via UnionPay Online Payment (or UPOP) with no SMS verification required."

In addition, the application can be used in offline mode. UnionPay cardholders can make in-store payments without using the Internet or opening the app. They can turn on their phone's display and hold it near a contactless-enabled POS reader; they can make online payments without using SMS verification, as well, China UnionPay noted.

Apple, Android options planned

Separate releases issued Dec. 18, 2015, disclosed UnionPay's partnerships with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to make QuickPass broadly available to consumers worldwide. The company expects Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay mobile payment schemes to be available to China UnionPay cardholders in early 2016, pending completed testing and certification.

Eddy Cue, Apple's Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, described China as an important market for Apple, noting Apple and UnionPay's joint effort to protect customer payment information at the POS. Cue said security is a core value at Apple. He further noted that no credit or debit card numbers are stored on Apple devices or servers. Unique Device Account Numbers are assigned, encrypted and stored inside the smartphone's secure element, he said.

Each Apple Pay transaction is authorized using a one-time unique dynamic security code. Apple Watch users can make QuickPass purchases from their wrists by double-clicking the side button and holding the watch face up to the contactless reader.

Samsung disclosed that it is working with China UnionPay to make Samsung Pay available to UnionPay cardholders. Users can make payments on Android phones by swiping and scanning. Additionally, consumers can use their Android phones to make payments at contactless-enabled POS devices, including QuickPass-enabled POS terminals.

Samsung Electronics Executive Vice President Injong Rhee said Samsung Pay simplifies the user experience at the POS, while incorporating multilayered protection including biometrics, encryption and tokenization to provide safer mobile payment experiences. "The collaboration with China UnionPay, coupled with the support from major UnionPay partner banks in China, will bring this secure and easy-to-use mobile payment solution to more Samsung mobile users," he said.

Global mPOS leader

China remains the world's largest mPOS market, with an estimated 672 million individual mobile subscribers and local manufacturing that promotes innovation and competitive pricing. The region is home to global mPOS giants such as Alipay, WeChat Payment and Baidu Wallet. Alipay, an online payments ecosystem developed by an Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate, accounts for 45 percent of China's mPOS transactions; a European version was launched in October 2015. China's diversified market supports inexpensive, entry-level mPOS and luxury market wearable technology segments, making it an ideal environment for widespread mobile wallet adoption. end of article

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