“Yesterday I tried to pay for a ticket change on the website of Turkish Airlines with a virtual UnionPay card,” wrote Polina from Moscow, as she was trying to get online assistance. “It did not work out, tried several times, the site issued an error – they say, either the card number is incorrect, or the payment does not pass.”
Another person wrote, “I issued a virtual UnionPay in the Post-Bank. Today tried to pay for a purchase on AliExpress.ru — didn’t go through. No error shows — just does not allow you to press the “pay” button after entering the card details…”
I experienced similar issues in Germany last week when urgently trying to pull out cash from an ATM to pay for a pizza at an odd restaurant that refused to take credit cards. There were several ATM machines on the tourist island of Lindau, but none of them would accept the Chinese system UnionPay.
These experiences might not seem like a big deal, but this is one of the most explosive news stories to hit the world in the last few months and almost nothing is being written about it. Most Americans and Europeans use Visa and Master Card debit card systems, so they do not notice, but the rest of the world is sitting up and taking notice.
Last month, UnionPay, China’s global debit card company, passed Visa as the largest global payment system. Ten years ago, 80% of the market used visa, but today that number has dropped to only 38.8%, with UnionPay commanding a whopping 40.03%!
However, with China’s economy, that exploding growth seems to be receding – at least in Europe.
In two weeks, I have traveled in Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Romania, and Denmark. All of these locations are seeing a restriction of China’s UnionPay.
In particular, Czech KB Bank’s ATMs are no longer accepting UnionPay cards. The same has happened rapidly with banks in Spain with problems between UnionPay and Euronet, Kutxabank and ING.
Euronet confirmed that it has placed restrictions on the company’s ATMs in accordance with US and EU regulators, but it wasn’t just regulations that brought about restrictions on China’s payment system.
Finland’s Nosto ATM network shut down China’s UnionPay when they saw ATMs emptied of cash on the eastern borders with Russia in a matter of hours.
These changes with UnionPay are no doubt hitting China’s economy, but do not anticipate hearing much about it. China often hides economic problems from the rest of the world, but properly understanding these key events can help better understand what is taking place with China on the world stage. As China has grown more aggressive towards Christians, it can clearly be seen that they have also grown more aggressive with the rest of the world.
Threatening neighboring countries, bullying nations, and saber-rattling has become more routine for China in the last few years than in the last three decades and it is making them more financially, militarily, and politically isolated than ever before.