China’s UnionPay International (UPI) has launched its SoftPOS solution utilising the Fasstap payment technology solution provided by SoftPOS firm Soft Space.

Set be to be rolled out in Malaysia, the solution is designed to transform consumer-grade NFC Android smartphones with near-field communication (NFC) into a payment terminal to enable contactless UnionPay transactions.

UPI plans to offer its SoftPOS solution to merchants of all sizes, particularly small medium enterprises (SMEs).

This move is expected to expand UPI’s market opportunities to scale up its contactless acceptance, especially in Southeast Asia.

The firm currently provides contactless acceptance in 180 countries and regions globally.

UnionPay International Southeast Asia general manager Huiming Cai said: “UPI’s vision is to always push new boundaries in payment innovation. We are very pleased to be able to partner a leading Fintech player like Soft Space to lead the rollout of this cutting-edge technology.

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“This bold step we took to make this happen will serve as a model and a stepping-stone towards UPI’s aspiration to further innovate throughout the region.”

Soft Space CEO Joel Tay added: “We applaud UPI for taking a step forward in innovating their contactless acceptance with us, leading them to introduce SoftPOS acceptance in Malaysia.

“We believe the introduction of UPI SoftPOS will be a boon as more than 50% of card transactions are already contactless today.”

UPI is currently working with Malaysia’s AmBank to extend its existing SoftPOS solution ‘mTAP’ to more smaller merchants.

AmBank retail banking managing director Aaron Loo said: “mTAP benefits both SMEs and consumers. The solution is viable and cost-effective which can encourage more SMEs to accept card payments. At the same time, consumers are able to gain access to smarter and innovative financial services.”

In 2018, UPI and Hong Kong-based HKT Payment collaborated to launch the Tap & Go UnionPay Prepaid Card for customers visiting mainland China.