BankservAfrica and UnionPay International Launch a New Era for Card Processing in SA

Johannesburg – In a monumental move for the South African card ecosystem, BankservAfrica has been appointed by UnionPay International (UPI) as its domestic on-soil processor to fast-track affordable, accessible and innovative card payments for South Africans.

“BankservAfrica has built a solid reputation as Africa’s largest Automated Clearing House and the banking sector’s trusted clearing partner. By joining forces with a mutual organisation that shares UnionPay International Scheme’s purpose of serving the best interests of communities, our offerings to the market, including our fees, are customised for the environment. Taking our approach of ‘share growth’, we can create an enabling marketplace that benefits all participants within the payments ecosystem including financial institutions, small businesses and retailers for the economy to thrive,” says Asad Burney, Head of UnionPay International Africa Branch.

“We believe this first-of-its-kind partnership with UnionPay International is more than just domestic card processing, it’s about building the synergies to enhance the capabilities and broaden the scale for card payments among the emerging and new markets. Inviting innovation that caters for these segments will address the persisting financial inclusion challenge,” says Stephen Linnell, Chief Executive Officer at BankservAfrica.

UnionPay International, a subsidiary of China UnionPay, is the biggest card payments brand globally by number of transactions, with enabled card acceptance in 181 countries and regions and issuance in 79 countries and regions. With acceptance by more than 85% in South Africa, UnionPay has established its position as an international card scheme in South Africa and the broader region since 2008.

This new partnership will see BankservAfrica take on the reigns as a domestic processor for all of UnionPay’s card issuing and acquiring services across its current ATMs, POS and ecommerce payment channels. UnionPay has taken the decision to partner with local infrastructure and in so doing support local on-soil capability, creating additional economies of scale through existing card rails for South African payments participants.

This appointment supports the South African Reserve Bank’s directive to ensure sustainable and robust transaction processing on-soil in South Africa to promote and support local payments infrastructure to drive lower cost and innovation to better serve South Africans.

“An alternative in the existing card ecosystem and an additional choice to customer banks, this ground-breaking development is a departure from the ‘knowns’ in today’s card payments. We now have an exciting opportunity to take card payments further and leverage the innovations and technologies that UnionPay is regarded for. This is a new era for card in South Africa and the rest of the continent,” ends Linnell.

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