January 26, 2019 / 2:54 AM / a month ago

Mastercard says plans to apply for China license to clear card payments

FILE PHOTO: A Mastercard logo is seen on a credit card in this picture illustration August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - U.S. payments card company Mastercard Inc said on Friday it still plans to apply for a bankcard clearing license in China and was in “active discussions” to explore solutions.

Mastercard “continues to make every effort to secure the requisite license to be able to access China’s domestic market,” it said in a statement posted on its website.

The company “hopes to be able to present another application for the bankcard clearing license in the very near future.”

State newspaper Beijing News reported on Friday that Mastercard had submitted application materials in 2017 but voluntarily withdrew its application in June 2018, citing an unnamed source at China’s central bank.

Mastercard did not immediately respond to an emailed request from Reuters on Saturday for further comment.

American Express Co in November won approval to clear card payments in China, becoming the first U.S. card network to gain direct access to what is set to be the biggest bank card market by 2020.

Previously, foreign card companies have had to partner with China’s UnionPay, a state-controlled consortium that enjoyed a monopoly on all yuan payment cards issued and used in the country, for access to the country’s payments network.

UnionPay counts Mastercard, Visa Inc and Apple Inc among its partners for payment services in China.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Tom Hogue

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