China’s Union Pay ATM Cards Now Operational In Armenia

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UnionPay Becoming The Card Of Choice Throughout Central Asia & Transcaucasia

UnionPay International has announced that it has entered into cooperation with Armenia’s ACBA Bank to permit UnionPay acceptance at merchants and ATM terminals of ACBA. This is the first time UnionPay cards have been accepted in Armenia.

Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia and is the latest Eurasian country to accept the card. The country is also a member of the Belt & Road Initiative.

With this collaboration, UnionPay’s footprint now extends to 177 countries, and it is becoming a major competitor to Visa & Mastercard in global debit card usage, partially driven by Chinese nationals travelling overseas.

To date, UnionPay is accepted in about 70% of all Central Asian and Transcaucasian countries, while in Kazakhstan, UnionPay has achieved 100% acceptance, and in Uzbekistan and Georgia, the UnionPay acceptance rate has reached 80%. Based on its expanding acceptance network, UnionPay has enabled card issuance in 6 countries in the region. In Kazakhstan, 1.8 million UnionPay cards are issued, and in Uzbekistan, UnionPay card has been the payroll cards for the local residents. Furthermore, UnionPay mobile payment has been launched in this area. In Kazakhstan and Georgia, users of the UnionPay app can scan QR code to pay at many merchants.

UnionPay’s Chairman, Shao Fujun said the accelerated implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative has led to the increasing cross-border payment demand between China and markets along the Belt and Road. In answer to this, UnionPay continues to improve its payment services in the region. Central Asia and Transcaucasia is a core region along the Silk Road Economic Belt. The acceptance of UnionPay cards in Armenia further improves UnionPay service capability in the region, and contributes to the interconnection and interworking of payment network along the Belt and Road. In the future, UnionPay will carry out more cooperation with institutions in Armenia in terms of card acceptance, card issuance and innovative payment, to enhance business contacts between Armenia and Russia/Central Asia.

Tian Erlong, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, said this partnership is a result of the deepening bilateral cooperation between China and Armenia. It is also a measure for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative. The rollout of UnionPay payment services in Armenia will further promote the payment experience of visiting Chinese tourists, facilitate the personnel exchanges and trade between the two countries, and lay a foundation for financial cooperation between China and Armenia.


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Silk Road Development Weekly is compiled each week by Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia and assists foreign investors into the region. For strategic advisory and business intelligence issues please contact the firm at or visit