A historic moment, those were the words used by Andy Lau, CEO of Southern Commercial Bank Suriname, to describe the launch of Surinamese UnionPay prepaid cards. Southern Commercial Bank introduces the cards to Suriname in cooperation with De Surinaamsche Bank. Tuesday evening Mr. Lau together with De Surinaamsche Bank CEO Sigmund Proeve unveiled the new cards in a packed hall of the Torarica Hotel in Paramaribo, Suriname. UnionPay is accepted in Suriname since last year, but now Surinamese residents can obtain a UnionPay card of their own. “We implemented the technical requirements to print the cards locally”, said Mr. Lau. The cards proudly feature the logos of both Southern Commercial and DSB.
Originating in the People’s Republic of China, UnionPay is one of the fastest growing card systems in the world. At the moment it is accepted in over 140 countries. “It’s an alternative to for instance Visa and MasterCard”, Mr Lau explained. He said there was a lot of demand for a supplementary card service with his clients.
In his speech DSB CEO Proeve said that Suriname is leading in the region. DSB and Southern Commercial Bank are the first banks in South America to introduce UnionPay. “UnionPay is an excellent alternative for both business travellers as tourists”, said Mr. Proeve. “We have the ambition to bridge the rest of the Caribbean and South America with this card.” Chief Representative Union Pay USA, Miriam Park, said the introduction presented an opportunity for regional growth both to UnionPay and DSB. The cards come in two variants: ‘classic’ and ‘gold’ in US dollars, each with their own limits. A minimum deposit is not required. UnionPay cards can be used for all DSB ATM. A large number of local businesses, mostly in the trade, hospitality and tourism, also accept UnionPay for payments.
The government ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, and Natural Resources were present at the launch event, as well as the ambassadors of China and the United States. China ambassador Yang Zigang said he’s been using UnionPay himself for years. He congratulated the banks with the launch. “UnionPay will create great benefit and convenience to the Surinamese people”, Yang said. The introduction of UnionPay to Suriname is an example of the growing cooperation between Suriname and China. “I’m expecting more Chinese banks and enterprises will come to Suriname to find business opportunities over here”, the ambassador said. “More Chinese tourists will travel here to experience the unique landscape and people.” Suriname Central Bank Governor Gillmore Hoefdraad said the Surinamese UnionPay cards would be popular with Surinamese frequent travellers to China. The introduction of UnionPay was proof to Hoefdraad of the further sophistication of the Surinamese financial sector.
“Optimizing payment systems is the topic of constructive talks between the Central Bank of Suriname and Chinese banks and the Central Bank of China”, Hoefdraad told his audience. In Hoefdraad’s view, the main benefit of the introduction of UnionPay to Suriname would be to speed up money transactions and reduce costs for business.
Press contacts: Southern Commercial Bank, +597 474532.