Kathmandu: Smart Choice Technologies (SCT) Private Limited, the largest electronic payments network in Nepal, and Himalayan Bank Limited (HBL), a leading commercial bank of the country, plan to issue yuan-based pre-paid UnionPay travel cards.
The SCT is planning to issue debit cards and travel cards with payment facilities of UnionPay while HBL is issuing yuan-based travel cards.
They have targeted the large number of Nepalese doing business with China and people who is keen to study in China as target customers.
The SCT has 52 commercial banks and other financial institutions as members and it is going to issue SCT-UnionPay cobranded chip cards for its member banks enabling the bank customers to use them 160 countries where UPI has presence.
“In the case of China, we are going to issue RMB-based UnionPay travel cards so that settlement of payment will take place in the Chinese currency,” said Rabindra Malla, managing director of SCT. HBL is the settlement bank of SCT. The bank said is working to open a yuan-based settlement account at Bank of China.
According to Malla, they have planned to issue the SCT-UnionPay co-branded cards in May this year. With the partnership with SCT, UnionPay will enable foreigners, particularly Chinese tourists, who visit Nepal to draw necessary cashes through ATM counters of 52 banks and other financial institutions in Nepal.
On the other hand, the HBL said they were in final phase of issuing RMB-based pre-paid travel cards. “We are in the final testing phase of the cards with UnionPay,” said Ujjal Rajbhandary, deputy general manager of HBL, who oversees the card-related businesses.
“If things go as per the plan, we should be able to issue RMB-based cards in the next two months.”
HBL is the first Nepalese bank to issue UnionPay cards in Nepal and it has so far issued around 1,000 such cards.
“People still have tendency to carry cashes instead of cards but using UnionPay card in China is very easy,” said Rajbhandary.