China will open up its market for clearing domestic bank card transactions, a move that is expected to benefit firms such as Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc.
The State Council, the nation’s cabinet, said in a statement late Wednesday that qualified domestic and foreign firms can apply to set up bank card-clearing operations, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The move is part of efforts to open up China’s financial sector, the cabinet said after a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
The statement didn’t set out a timeline or release further details, the Journal noted.
As of now, state-controlled China UnionPay Co. has a near monopoly on processing and clearing yuan-denominated payments made by bank cards and credit cards.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express Co. and other foreign firms have been jockeying for a greater share of that business for years.
The Journal quoted a MasterCard spokeswoman as saying that the company welcomes the development, and that it believes “open payment systems provide growth by fostering innovation.”
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