Foreign tourists now have easier access to mobile payment in China

Updated: Dec 4, 2019 People's Daily Online Print
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Usually, foreigners have to open a Chinese bank account to pay for things through mobile payment platforms, which can be difficult and troublesome.

Recently, however, Chinese mobile payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay have enabled foreigners to pay with their international credit or debit cards, making it much easier for them to pay for things in China.

Statistics from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism revealed that foreign travelers made 30.5 million trips to China in 2018, a 4.7 percent increase compared with 2017, which requires China to improve the payment experience and bring convenience to foreigners.

Mobile payment, an easier and more convenient payment tool, has become increasingly popular among foreigners. A recent survey on a foreign social media platform suggests that nearly 20 percent of overseas netizens consider it frustrating not to be able to use mobile payment in China, as most Chinese people do.

The new mini-program within Alipay, known as TourPass, makes it possible for foreign tourists. By topping up a digital prepaid card on Alipay via their own credit or debit card, foreigners can now scan a QR code to pay at shops or restaurants.

WeChat Pay has also cooperated with leading global payment solutions such as Visa and MasterCard to allow foreigners to buy train tickets or call taxis on the platform through international credit cards.

WeChat has also launched a new mini-application that enables overseas tourists to get a digital refund tax immediately in their digital wallets, when in the past they could only get the refundable tax in cash or through their bank cards, significantly simplifying the process.

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