UnionPay International announced today that it has cooperated with Global Blue in upgrading its UnionPay Tax Refund Service. Now customers can use UnionPay credit cards (card number starting with 62) issued worldwide to receive early refunds in stores or at Global Blue’s downtown outlets after shopping in nearly 20 countries and regions in Europe and Asia. This service will be gradually rolled out to all Global Blue affiliated merchants around the world.
With more than 300,000 affiliated department stores, brand stores and hotels across 51 countries, Global Blue is the worldwide industry leader in Tax Free Shopping services. Globally, Chinese shoppers represent the number one group claiming tax refunds through Global Blue. Meanwhile, the UnionPay card is the most commonly used payment method of Chinese outbound tourists. UnionPay cards can be used at 20 million merchants and 1.3 million ATMs across 160 countries and regions outside mainland China. UnionPay begun cooperating with Global Blue as early as in 2007 in offering UnionPay Tax Refund Service as a value-added service.
Now, the two sides are launching the upgraded tax refund service in about 20 countries in Europe and Asia, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and South Korea. This is because it is increasingly convenient to use UnionPay cards outside mainland China. In Europe in particular, half of the merchants accepting bankcards support UnionPay payment and UnionPay’s merchant acceptance coverage in Northeast and Southeast Asia exceeds 70%. According to the latest data, the UnionPay transaction volume in popular European destinations like France, Switzerland, Spain and Austria grew by more than 40% this year.
It is easier and more efficient to use UnionPay cards to claim tax refunds now: After spending a certain amount, shoppers may get a tax refund form from the merchant. After filling in their name and passport number in the tax refund application form and using UnionPay credit cards as a guarantee, shoppers are able to enjoy early refunds in two forms: One is to have the tax deducted directly from the sale; the other is to get an early refund at an in-store refund counter or a Global Blue Downtown Refund point; the refunds will be in cash or transferred directly to their UnionPay credit cards. It should be noted that customers still need to have the tax refund form stamped by Customs and put it into the mailbox of Global Blue on departure.
Currently, UnionPay Overseas Tax Refund Service is available at more than 300,000 merchants across 38 countries and regions, including 31 European countries (France, Germany, Italy, the UK, etc.), and Argentina, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan, China. In Australia, UnionPay International cooperates with the Australian Customs in offering TRS, a mobile app for express tax refund that enables UnionPay credit cardholders to complete tax refund application online.
After shopping at merchants of Premier Tax Free, Innova Tax Free, Tax Refund Service Srl and Tax Free Worldwide, Chinese customers are able to claim tax refund upon returning to China. Moreover, after shopping at the affiliated merchants of the German mobile internet tax refund institution, cardholders with UnionPay cards issued in mainland China are able to use UnionPay cards claim tax refund via the mobile app of “Safety Tax Free” and have their application forms collected through appointment after they get back to China.