This pioneering product has been designed to address key pain points for diverse consumer segments – particularly those who travel, study, or shop overseas – and presents a unique offering in China’s debit card market, with access to Mastercard’s global benefits.
Chinese outbound travel and cross-border e-commerce has grown rapidly in recent years, driving demand for payment products that support international purchases. Yet many consumers still face barriers to owning an international credit card, such as freelance workers, students studying outside of China, senior citizens, or those who have to travel at short notice. Some credit card holders can also face certain limitations, such as credit line restrictions overseas and high charges on currency conversions.
Meanwhile, debit cards are becoming increasingly popular, representing 70% of all payment cards and rising, according to consulting firm Retail Banking Research (RBR). This is being driven in part by the lower fees, easier application process, and flexible spending limits associated with debit cards. However, most traditional debit card products in China offer limited functionality, and cannot cater to the full breadth of consumer needs.
Addressing this trend and the challenges Chinese consumers face, Mastercard and the Bank of China have designed the new Great Wall International Debit Card to resolve diverse consumer pain points. For instance, the streamlined application process and more flexible eligibility enables people who are usually excluded from owning credit cards to obtain the card quickly, requiring only a valid form of identification. The card also allows consumers to spend freely according to the funds available in their bank account, which will be appreciated by consumers who are usually restrained by credit limits.
Adding to the product’s differentiation from all other debit cards on the market, cardholders will enjoy exclusive privileges covering travel, dining, and leisure experiences included in Mastercard’s Priceless Cities programme, as well as discounts on overseas shopping and study. Cardholders also enjoy zero conversion charges on 19 foreign currencies, low overseas cash withdrawal fees, and an exchange rate lock function that secures the most favourable rates.
Meanwhile, Mastercard’s EMV chip technology, password protection and an SMS notification service offer consumers peace of mind with the highest level of security on cross-border transactions.
“As China’s most international and diversified banking institution, Bank of China has a long history of leveraging its advantages to build an exclusive product portfolio with unique features and benefits,” said Yang Yimin, GM, Personal Finance, Bank of China. “The Great Wall International Debit Card we are issuing in partnership with Mastercard supports multiple currencies and caters to a variety of unmet consumer needs. At the same time, this product further strengthens our industry-leading foreign currency and cross-border commerce business.”
“Mastercard is committed to sharing its global resources with partners and collaborating to develop customised products that address real challenges for cardholders,” said Dennis Chang, Division President, China, Mastercard. “We are delighted to be working with Bank of China to introduce China’s first cross-border, multi-currency debit card with EMV chip, which addresses the growing global trend in debit card uptake* and meets the needs of diverse consumer segments. This pioneering innovation marks a major new milestone in our three decades of partnership with Bank of China, and we look forward to further collaborations to provide consumers with more secure, convenient, and rewarding cross-border payment solutions.”
Key advantages of the Great Wall International Debit Card include:
- Streamlined application procedure: An applicant may apply for a card at Bank of China branches by presenting his or her valid identity document
- Cash withdrawal at overseas ATMs at any time of the day; handling fee up to a maximum of US$5
- No service charge on currency conversions for overseas purchases
- Supports conversion of 19 foreign currencies
- Spending limit tied to funds available in the relevant bank account
- Yields income from interest; doubles as a foreign exchange and financial management product
- Exchange rate lock function
- Secure online shopping