Vietnam Eximbank has begun acquiring merchants in Vietnam for acceptance of cards issued by Japan-based JCB International under an agreement the two companies signed last fall, according to JCB.

In a statement, JCB says Vietnam Eximbank will phase in enabling holders of JCB credit cards to shop at Eximbank merchants. The acquirer expects to complete the process by 2011.

JCB entered into the agreement to provide expanded merchant acceptance for the issuer’s 64.21 million cardholders–largely based in Asia, including Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea–who travel to Vietnam, according to the statement.

In 1991, JCB entered the Vietnam market by signing a merchant-acceptance with Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam. It followed up with similar acquiring deals with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and United Overseas Bank Ltd. in 1998.

It has since allied with five other acquiring banks, making Eximbank its eighth acquiring partner in Vietnam.

Travelers from China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan visiting Vietnam grew by 7% in 2008, to 1.8 million from 1.6 million in 2005, according to the Vietnam tourist bureau.

Vietnam Eximbank, or Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank, was established in 1989 and provides similar card-acceptance support for holders of MasterCard and Visa cards.


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