(Photo: WeChat Pay)
cnTechPost reported yesterday Alipay is now available to tourists who visit China. It turns out that WeChat Pay is offering similar services despite with less use cases.
Tencent, which owns WeChat, is talking with Visa、Mastercard、American Express、Discover Global Network and JCB for potential cooperation to allow foreigner use their existing credit cards through WeChat Pay, the company said on November 5.
At the initial phase, there is now a trial program in which visitors to China can buy train tickets and pay for hailing taxies by WeChat Pay.
The move was made public the same day when Alipay announced on Tuesday its mobile payment function is now available to tourists who visit China with the launch of a new international version.
But with a quick comparison, it seems Alipay is providing more use cases for foreign users.
Short-term visitors to China can download a version of the Alipay app to pay for things using QR codes, according to a statement today from parent company Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate that runs the app.
Visitors will need just an overseas phone number, a visa and their bank card to sign up for the “Tour Pass” mini-program.
The minimum top-up for each pre-paid card is 100 yuan ($14), with a maximum of 2,000 yuan ($285). The prepaid cards will expire after 90 days and the remaining money will be automatically refunded.
The move comes as everyone from small vegetable vendors to shopping mall merchants are relying on mobile payments, foreigners have found it difficult to find any smartphone app to pay for online purchases in China without a Chinese bank account.
With more than a billion users, the digital payment systems have largely replaced plastic cards and cash at registers, changed how friends and families give gifts to one another and even changed how panhandlers ask for money.
Even Apple accepts Alipay in its local stores in China, after its own payment system failed to gain traction.