New card for SE Asian travellers

Frequent Flyer credit cards in Singapore
Compare frequent flyer credit cards in Singapore


Are you a frequent traveller? If it’s for either business or leisure purposes (and why not both?) you’ll probably already know the value of a good credit card for travelling abroad. In fact, we’ve got several excellent examples on our comparison website that offer discounts on air travel, car hire, hotels, dining and many other benefits.

The seasoned traveller knows that when they’re abroad, a credit card is the universal currency that allows you to pay your bills with confidence and ensures that you’re never caught short of funds while away from Singapore. It’s a crowded and competitive market, so we’re always curious when a new offering arrives on the scene.

So, our interest is piqued by the news that Bank of China and Union Pay International have released a joint press release announcing a new card for travellers in South East Asia. It’ll be called the BOC UnionPay Travel Card, and they say it will provide access to both UnionPay’s payment networks across the region and “a host of travel discounts across the world”.

It’s been rolled out as a credit card in Singapore, a pre-pay card in Malaysia and a debit card in Vietnam, all with the backing of the China National Tourism Administration. With a year it will also be launched across the rest of south-east Asia. From the looks of things, and judging by its backers in Beijing, the casrd will be at its most useful for travellers to mainland China, with access to Bank of China’s renminbi clearance ability across borders. Travel discounts are also China-oriented, with discounts for tickets to hundreds of places of interest in the country, alongside deals of dining, shopping and entertainment at over 1,000 Chinese merchants.

Fear not – the rest of the region is well represented, with 5,000 international merchants offering discounts on the  BOC UnionPay Travel Card. Singapore card holders are very well accounted for, with double rewards points offered on all overseas expenditure.

Bank of China and UnionPay are convinced there’s a market for this card, saying that in the last year alone 2.4 million people visited China from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Will it be a success? Business travel into China is certainly on the rise, so we don’t see why not. The Singapore credit card market is very competitive, so it’s worth seeing how this example will sit in its own particular niche.


Article by Jason Taylor – [email protected]