VocaLink has signed a deal with China Unionpay (CUP) that will allow Chinese visitors to the UK to withdraw cash at Link ATMs.
From early 2009 CUP's one billion bank cards can be used to withdraw sterling from over 60,000 UK cash machines. VocaLink says this means Chinese visitors will no longer have to carry cash or use dual-currency credit cards which carry a higher withdrawal fee.
VocaLink says 144,000 Chinese visitors came to the UK in 2007 and this is likely to increase over the next few years, particularly in the build up to the 2012 Olympics. There are also around 100,000 Chinese students studying in the country.
Liu Tinghuan, chairman, China Unionpay, says: "China's economy is developing rapidly with a significant increase in personal income. To meet the urgent demands from cardholders to use CUP card abroad, CUP is actively exploring international acceptance of CUP card."
The deal is the first CUP has inked in the UK, but the firm's cards are already accepted at ATMs across 45 countries and regions.