The news: After a yearlong beta, China-based card network UnionPay and Stripe deepened their partnership so Stripe sellers can accept payments from UnionPay cardholders, including in Chinese currency. They can also automate returns and disputes and manage these payments through their existing Stripe dashboard.
Some key context: Both firms have been broadening their partnerships and hunting for expansion this year.
Stripe’s opportunity: Fully enabling UnionPay acceptance helps expose Stripe’s sellers to a massive potential base with an appetite to spend.
Now that Stripe sellers can easily accept UnionPay and yuan-based transactions, they can capture some of this volume and boost sales—ultimately growing Stripe’s overall volume. And it might attract new clients to the platform that want easier access to China-based commerce at a time when many businesses—and small businesses in particular—are looking for new payment providers.
UnionPay’s long-term plans: UnionPay’s international ambitions could see a slight lift from this strategy.
UnionPay’s acceptance network abroad is strong: Earlier this year, the network announced that as many as 55 million merchants in 180 countries and regions now accept UnionPay cards. These gains come from major partnerships with terminal providers and acquirers globally: For example, in early 2020, UnionPay and PayPal inked a partnership similar to Stripe’s deal.
But the brand’s issuing business outside of China remains small relative to both its business at home and competitors worldwide as it angles for international reach. Broadening its acceptance network might be a way to attract further interest from partners abroad and could crack the door open for a larger global gain.
Go deeper: To learn more about how payment service providers (PSPs) like Stripe are working to become merchants’ one-stop shops for financial services and introducing new services to attract these sellers, check out our Small-Business Payments Disruptors report.