Wednesday, 06 November 2019 11:26

Alipay opens up cashless payments to tourists visiting China Featured

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International tourists to mainland China will be able to use a version of the Alipay app to make cashless payments from their phones, a report says. Alipay is owned by Ant Financial, an affiliate of retail giant Alibaba.

The new version of the app, that uses QR codes to pay for merchandise, can be be downloaded from the company's website, the website Quartz reported.

The so-called "Tour Pass" program allows visitors to use a pre-paid card service from the Bank of Shanghai, topping it up with Chinese yuan via their regular credit cards.

Payments in China are dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay mobile wallets; a local phone number and Chinese bank account is needed to use them.

In the last quarter of 2018, Alipay handled transactions worth about US$3.8 trillion, while WeChat Pay accounted for US$2.7 trillion of payments.

The Alipay mobile pay app for international users requires a minimum top-up of 100 yuan (US$14) and a maximum of 2000 yuan (US$285). After 90 days, any remaining money is refunded.

The move by Ant Financial may cause WeChat to move in the same direction and put a spoke in the wheel of international operators like MasterCard and Visa which have been pushing for acceptance of payments through their offerings.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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