The urgent need to address China UnionPay’s influence in the credit card industry

July 2, 2024

By Kyle Johnson

As lawmakers continue to crackdown on China’s growing threat to the U.S., it’s time for Congress to turn its attention to the credit card industry, another area where China’s influence is growing. UnionPay, a Chinese state-owned financial corporation, presents a significant risk by potentially exposing American consumers’ financial data to the Chinese government.

China remains the top threat to U.S. national security and is uniquely positioned to reshape the international order with increasing power around the world. Given these dynamics, our federal government, including our own China hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham, must protect American interests by scrutinizing and reducing Chinese influence in domestic industries.

The credit card industry’s connection with China UnionPay needs to be reevaluated. Visa and Mastercard’s welcoming stance towards UnionPay over the past decade, helping integrate UnionPay into our payment systems and security standards is counterintuitive to our national security interests.

Thankfully, there is a potential solution. The Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA) would block networks posing threats to national security. The CCCA would require the Federal Reserve to list and block payment networks that pose security risks, including China UnionPay.

Beyond national security protections, the CCCA would foster competition by allowing merchants to choose from at least two different card networks besides Visa and Mastercard when processing transactions. This competitive pressure in the industry would motivate Visa and Mastercard to take security issues more seriously and develop new protections from foreign influence and general fraud.

With rates of fraud eight times higher for Visa and Mastercard compared to alternative networks in the debit space, it’s past time for them to feel the competitive pressure other industries feel daily and fix the underlying issues that are putting American consumers at risk

Passing the CCCA is necessary to fortify our national security and protect our financial infrastructure from Chinese influence.


Kyle Johnson is a conservative activist in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.