International tourists visiting China will now find it easier to use China’s mobile payment platforms.according to CNNAlipay and WeChat Pay have opened their doors to foreign credit cards, allowing travelers to seamlessly link their Visa and Mastercard accounts to these platforms.
The announcement by Alipay, which is run by subsidiaries of Ant Group and Alibaba Group Holding, paves the way for overseas users to link cards issued by Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club and Discover to their digital wallets. Tencent, the owner of WeChat Pay, made a similar announcement. The fintech giants aim to attract foreign investment and international tourists to boost the Chinese economy.
“With Chengdu (Universiade) and Hangzhou Asian Games approaching, more and more foreign tourists are coming to China, and they may need to use mobile payments for basic necessities,” the Hangzhou-based fintech giant, which is owned by Alibaba Group Holding (BABA), said in a prepared statement.
In China, it is virtually impossible for consumers to purchase goods and services without a mobile device. According to statistics, more than 80% of daily consumer transactions occur on mobile platforms, and Alipay and WeChat Pay together account for 91% of the market share of digital payment services.
However, for travelers, paying for goods in China is not so easy. Typically, they must be linked to a Chinese bank account or have a Chinese ID, mainly because international credit cards cannot be linked to these apps.
Understandably, the process can be challenging for tourists. But the move by WeChat and Alipay is an important step in welcoming international tourists to China. As China emerges from strict COVID-19 restrictions, payments giants are aggressively easing those conditions, ushering in a new era for international travellers.
No longer burdened by a Chinese bank account, consumers can now use their Visa or Mastercard accounts to seamlessly conduct everyday transactions, just as they would at home.