Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial has introduced an international version of its mobile payment app, Alipay, allowing travelers to link foreign bank cards to the service for use in China.
Why it matters: This marks Ant Financial’s latest move to expand Alipay’s footprint and the first time it has provided a payment service targeting overseas users on the mainland.
- Ant Financial has been eager to expand its user base beyond China’s 800 million-plus internet population. The company has been working with overseas partners to serve Chinese tourists as well as provide localized e-wallet services.
Details: The new feature allows international visitors to use Alipay’s services including QR code payment at restaurants and shops, as well as online purchases.
- To access the international version, users need to download the Alipay app and register with their overseas mobile phone number. Through the “Tour Pass” mini-program, international users can use the prepaid card service provided by the Bank of Shanghai that allows them to use QR code payment and online payment.
- International users can link their debit or credit cards with the prepaid card within the mini program.
- The minimum top-up for each card is RMB 100 and the balance is capped at RMB 2,000 (around $285). The prepaid card is valid for 90 days. The remaining funds will be automatically refunded when the card expires.
- The international version is now available on both iOS and Android devices.
Context: Previously, users were required to have an account with a Chinese bank in order to use Alipay’s services.
- WeChat Pay already supports credit cards issued by foreign service providers for limited services such as making purchases and transferring funds.
- Ant Financial said that its QR code payment service has 1.2 billion users worldwide.