China UnionPay viewed as threat

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WASHINGTON — The Merchants Payment Coalition (MPC) has sent a letter to a U.S. House committee urging passage of the Credit Card Competition Act as a way of limiting Chinese involvement in industry groups that set security standards governing U.S. credit and debit card networks.

The letter to members of the Financial Services Committee was sent earlier this month as the panel convened a hearing on economic threats from China.

The coalition has “grave concerns” over China’s involvement in the U.S. payments system, according to the letter, which identifies state-owned China UnionPay as a national security threat. The Shanghai-based organization is one of the world’s largest card payment networks, and one of two foreign networks (along with Japan’s JCB) with membership in the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council and ­EMVCo, the two bodies that set security standards for the U.S. credit and debit card system.

UnionPay’s participation gives the Chinese government a role in “the creation and implementation of security standards that impact all U.S. businesses and consumers,” MPC’s letter said.

“If enacted, the Credit Card Competition Act would explicitly forbid card networks that present a national security threat to the United States (including China UnionPay) from entering the U.S. market,” MPC said.

The Credit Card Competition Act was introduced in the House and the Senate last year but was not enacted before the 117th United States Congress concluded on January 3.

Advocates are awaiting reintroduction of the bill in the current congressional session.



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