Alipay lets visitors to China use its mobile payments platform

Graphic of how alipay mobile payments  works
TOURIST VERSION: International travellers in China can now load funds onto an Alipay e-wallet

Tourists visiting China can now use a version of Alipay designed specifically for international travellers to make mobile payments during their trip, Alipay has announced.

“Starting immediately, visitors can download Alipay for both iOS and Android devices, and register for the International Version of the app with their overseas mobile phone number to access the ‘Tour Pass’ mini program,” Alipay explains.

“Through the mini program, they can use the ‘Prepaid Card’ service provided by the Bank of Shanghai to top up CNY [Chinese Yuan] and enjoy services such as scanning a QR code to pay at restaurants and shops, and making online purchases through Alipay.”

“Alipay, together with its local e-wallet partners in Asia, already serves more than 1.2 billion users with its widely adopted QR code payment services,” the company adds.

“In China, users can also access services such as paying for taxis, hotel room bookings and movie tickets, directly within the app.

“However, because access typically requires a local phone number and Chinese bank account, short-term international visitors previously could not use mobile payments in China.

“To begin using the International Version of Alipay, visitors can use their international debit or credit cards to load funds onto a prepaid card provided by the Bank of Shanghai within the Tour Pass mini program.

“Minimum top-up for each card is CNY100 (US$14.29), with [the] balance capped at CNY2,000 (US$285.81). The card is valid for 90 days, after which any remaining funds will be refunded automatically.”