Citi Issues First Credit Cards in China

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Citibank became the first foreign-owned bank in China to issue a credit card directly to Chinese consumers instead of using a local partner.

Citi introduced two new credit card programs: the Citibank Rewards card and the Citibank PremierMiles card. Each has two versions, one in Chinese yuan and the other in U.S. dollars. Both cards can be issued with the China UnionPay or MasterCard brand. Only Citibank Rewards has a Visa option.

Citibank is the first bank to be granted a stand-alone issuing license in China, and last month became the first global bank to issue credit cards in the country in this manner, marking a breakthrough for Citibank. Other foreign banks will need to apply and be approved by the Chinese regulatory authorities if they want to issue credit cards in China on a stand-alone basis.

Citi did not announce cards co-branded with the China UnionPay and either Visa or MasterCard logo. Most Visa and MasterCard-branded cards issued in China by domestic banks are co-branded with China UnionPay and have two subaccounts, one in Chinese yuan and the other in a foreign currency such as U.S. dollars or Euros.

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