Banco De Oro, the largest bank in the Philippines based on assets, on Dec. 1 announced the launch of a China UnionPay-branded credit card.

The card supports two separate accounts, one that charges in Philippine pesos and the other in American dollars, says Maurice Lim, a spokesperson for the Makati City-based issuer.

“Purchases in the Philippines are billed in pesos, while those made outside the Philippines are in US dollar terms,” he tells PaymentsSource.

Cardholders may not use the card online, only at the point of sale. The card is available to all legal residents in the Philippines, including foreign businessmen, Lim says.

The bank designed the card for businesspeople and tourists who travel to and from China, which is the Philippines’ third-largest trading partner after the U.S. and Japan. Cardholders may use their cards at some 50,000 Banco De Oro-acquired merchants in the Philippines and anywhere else China UnionPay cards are accepted.

Cardholders pay no annual fee on the card for the first three years. Thereafter the annual fee is 5,000 pesos (US$114 or 87 euros) a year for the Diamond version and 2,400 pesos for the Gold version, Lim says.

“We aim to issue 8,000 to 10,000 … cards in 2011,” he says.

Banco De Oro has more than 1 million cards in circulation. Aside from China UnionPay, it also issues cards carrying the Visa, MasterCard, JCB and American Express brands.

Established in 2002, China UnionPay is China’s bankcard association. More than 2.1 billion cards carrying the UnionPay brand have been issued worldwide, according to UnionPay, which established partnerships with some 400 financial institutions worldwide. UnionPay cards are accepted in more than 90 countries.

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