Until now, all bank card clearing in China had to go through CUP.
This has been the way since June 2015, when China first opened up its market to foreign card payment companies.
Visa has become the first overseas card payment firm to apply for a bank card clearing licence in the country,
having recently filed an application with the PBOC. The People’s Bank of China is expected to consider the application from Visa in accordance with publically released guidelines & measures for bank-card clearing institution applicants.
A foreign firm has never been given permission to put domestic clearing options in place in China. Instead, the overseas players that have been attracted to China’s growing card market had to cooperate with local banks to offer dual-currency bank cards. If Via is granted access to direct card clearing, other players could soon follow suit. This could be a huge disrupter to the China bank card payments landscape.
Mastercard has also shown interest in the Chinese market,
and is said to be looking into options for a joint venture or solo application, according to CEO and president Ajay Banga. They are expected to decide and file with the central bank soon.