European mobile wallets adopt Alipay QR code format to boost payment interoperability

Map of western europe showing where Alipay QR code mobile wallets can be used
COLLABORATION: Alipay’s QR code format is being adopted by European mobile wallet providers to improve digital payment interoperability

Six European mobile wallet providers — Bluecode (Austria), ePassi (Finland), Momo Pocket (Spain), Pagaqui (Portugal), Pivo (Finland) and Vipps (Norway) — have adopted a QR code format from Chinese payment provider Alipay to ensure digital payment interoperability and improve the international reach of customers’ wallets as well as boosting sales, participants have told NFCW.

The rollout of the functionality will begin this summer and initially include more than 5m mobile wallet users in Europe and China.

Firms involved in the scheme have told NFCW that it will enable mobile wallet users to make QR code-based payments with their home apps at local merchants in 10 European countries, while merchants which accept mobile payments via the six apps in their respective domestic markets will be able to accept payments made by customers in other countries.

Alipay’s Chinese users will also be able to make payments at merchants in other countries covered by the agreement.

“For users it is very simple: they will use their trusted wallet when travelling abroad,” CEO of Momo Group Mariano de Mora told NFCW.

“The payment process is as easy and faster than a contactless card and exchange rates can be known in advance.

“For merchants the advantage will be more traffic in their shops and the ability to promote and retain customers with special offers and promotions. Settlements can be real-time.”

ePassi vice president of payment services Masood Arai told NFCW that the collaboration will help to improve a European mobile payment wallet market that is currently fragmented.

He explained: “Interoperability brings greater value across Europe for all as it creates an ecosystem of mobile payment wallets where merchants and consumers can pay for their purchases cross Europe within the partner ecosystem using the same QR code.

“A compatible QR code format acts as a common ‘language’ among the partners. On the other hand it can act as a recognisable ‘brand’ across Europe among partners’ merchants and consumers.”

De Mora said the collaboration followed talks between the various parties involved. “Each of us were already working with Alipay and conversations started bilaterally about how to improve our users’ UX and our merchants’ bottom line and we figured out we needed to talk the same language.”

This was confirmed by a spokesperson for Alipay, who told NFCW: “Alipay was chosen as the provider of the unified QR code format on the back of previously successful partnerships with each of these wallets.”

Pivo director Masa Peura said that the link-up would lead to increased customer satisfaction: “A common format and co-operation between major players enable a better user experience and contribute to more satisfied customers.

“The biggest benefit for everyone is that the landscape for mobile payments would become more simplified. Consumers can use their preferred wallet across Europe rather than just locally.

“For merchants, this could translate into more sales, giving them access to multiple mobile payment methods through just one contract. This was virtually impossible previously.”

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