As the international trade world begins to open up to travelers who just enjoy globetrotting shopping sprees, traveler’s checks are starting to fall by the wayside. Once considered to be the best way to pay while abroad, the fact is that they are becoming increasingly difficult to deal with. Along with the chance of having the checks get stolen, people also don’t want to have to exchange them for foreign cash or deal with similar minutiae. Though it’s not always fun, many travelers still rely on these checks to make ends meet abroad.
However, things are changing thanks to major city luxury stores like Harrod’s, Barney’s, and even Macy’s. As luxury shoppers have started to go “globetrotting shopping” as a way to save money on big ticket buys, tour the world, and just be glamorous, an increased demand for acceptance of foreign credit cards has started to be noted in major cities. The reason, of course, is that it’s much easier to handle high end shopping when you basically have a “blank check” credit card rather than a set limit due to traveler’s checks.
The most obvious example of this is UnionPay, one of China’s most popular credit card companies. Only Asian countries currently allow consumers to have this card, with China being the most common country of origin for card users. Despite the fact that Westerners do not have the ability to open an account with UnionPay, major luxury stores in England, Los Angeles, New York, and Paris have begun to accept payment via UnionPay. Most notably, one of the first Western stores to accept UnionPay and announce it was Harrod’s of London.
Currently, most stores still don’t carry credit cards that are exclusive to other countries, however, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered. Studies are showing that major metropolitan areas, particularly those that are prone to shopping tourism, may have something to gain from accepting UnionPay and other foreign credit cards. This is doubly true for businesses that may be iconic or luxurious in nature, such as famous restaurants and ultra luxury designer stores.
That being said, most luxury stores in suburban areas probably aren’t going to have that much of an issue if they don’t jump on this trend. If you want to find out more about whether or not international credit card acceptance is worth it, you may want to look at the areas where they’re currently being accepted. Or, better yet, you may want to discuss the matter with a qualified professional from CPS. After all, it’s our job to help businesses succeed – on a national and international level.