Can't say that I'm sympathetic to the plight of Visa and Master Card here, but this article may be of interest to those of us who like to use our credit cards. It's from Caixin
Visa and MasterCard executives eager to expand in China were thrilled recently when Premier Li Keqiang seemed to suggest that a door would open to them for bank card yuan business in the country.
But they had read Li wrong: The premier's statement in late October did not signal an opening to overseas bank card firms. Instead, it signaled tougher times.
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On November 3, UnionPay's grip tightened with a central bank announcement that "new financial integrated cards issued by all banks must conform to the PBOC 3.0 standards."
These standards govern the electronic language through which a bank card transmits an account holder's data at a checkout counter or at an ATM. They are used by only UnionPay and are incompatible with the so-called EMV standards adopted years ago by MasterCard and Visa. EMV stands for the former Europay, which MasterCard bought in 2002, MasterCard and Visa.
Even if Beijing were to open for bank card clearing services, the latest rule forces every company except UnionPay to adjust its business practices before being allowed to operate in China. For example, retail point-of-sale (POS) terminals for band-card swiping as well as ATM operations will have to conform to the new standards.
The changeover won't come cheap: A UnionPay technician said changing just one machine to meet the new standards could cost several hundred yuan.
. . .
Smart cards are considered safer than magnetic strip cards and can be equipped with more functions, such the ability to use near-field communication technology to move money.
A central bank official working in the bank's payment division said the new smart card standards are designed to protect account holder data while also meeting China's sovereignty requirements.
China's smart cards and EMV cards are incompatible because they use different encryption methods,