UnionPay International (UPI) has secured payment systems operator (PSO) licence in Nepal.

The Chinese firm becomes the first international company to receive a PSO licence from the Nepal Rastra Bank.

The PSO licence authorises UnionPay QR Code as the first legal cross-border QR payment solution in Nepal.

Furthermore, UPI can supply payment systems and collaborate with local banks to issue payment cards.

In 2016, the central bank of Nepal issued new rules that required all companies offering payment services to apply for licence. Following the directive, UPI, which has been operating in Nepal since 2010, applied for the licence.

Currently, more than 10,000 merchants in Nepal accept UnionPay QR Code payment service. According to UnionPay, the figure will cross 20,000 by the end of this year covering F&B, retail and transportation sectors.

Besides the payment service, the UnionPay cards are accepted at 60% of ATMs and 70% of merchants in Nepal. They can also be used to transact at several online merchants.

The company partnered with SmartChoice Technologies (SCT) to develop a digital wallet QPay in Nepal. The offering will enable local users use UnionPay QR Code payment service in the country and abroad.

Recently, UPI partnered with commercial bank BCEL to launch QR code payment service in Laos. In March this year, it teamed up with NIBank to facilitate issuance of cards in Latin American countries.