Huawei has signed an agreement with UnionPay International to work together to promote Huawei Pay worldwide, and accelerate the roll-out of the product to more markets. The move comes two years after the companies signed up to develop the product together in 2016.
For now, the agreement will allow Huawei and Honor mobile owners to make tap payments on the go by adding UnionPay cards to the Huawei Pay service. As with other tap-enabled solutions, Huawei Pay uses token technology to protect cardholder privacy and security.
As the first tap-enabled service to originate in China, Huawei Pay is larger than we knew; there are 66 supported banks and more than 20 supported devices, including both smartphones and watches. More than 4 billion RMB worth of payments were made using the platform in 2017 – that’s $785m in Australian dollars.
Like other platforms including G Pay, Samsung Pay and banks own solutions, Huawei Pay is accelerating rapidly in China, and this new agreement will allow it to accelerate in other markets, too. It’s noted, though, that UnionPay (a card scheme not unlike Visa and MasterCard) cards are predominantly issued within China, so their proliferation elsewhere is significantly less.
Russia will be the first market outside China to implement the service. Currently, UnionPay bank cards are accepted at 85% of POS terminals and ATMs in Russia, with over 400,000 POS terminals accepting UnionPay mobile contactless payment. More than 10 Russian banks have issued about 1.3 million UnionPay bank cards. In addition to Russia, Huawei and UnionPay plan to offer Huawei Pay services to other markets in Eastern Europe.
What we’d love to see is Huawei Pay signing on with Visa and / or MasterCard as well, so that Huawei’s payment product can truly complete in western markets where UnionPay is not widely known or accepted.
Still, this is a big announcement, and we look forward to learning more about Huawei Pay in future.