Foreigners can use Alipay for the first time in China. WeChat payment? not that simple

On November 6, Alipay, a subsidiary of Ant Financial Services, posted on its twitter account that foreign tourists entering the Chinese mainland can register with a foreign mobile phone number and choose to use the Alipay international version, and use the QR code to pay, consume or travel in the Mainland:. Within 90 days, visitors to China can use the 2,000 yuan payment limit.

At the same time, Tencent said that under the guidance of relevant policies, it explored cooperation with the five major international card organizations to support Wechat Pay, an international credit card opened overseas.

There are already 580 million mobile payment users in mainland China. But for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots and foreigners, the inconvenience of using mobile payment such as Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay Cloud Flash Payment is a pain point in life in the Mainland .

However, cross-border payments involve the steps of opening up to the outside world and foreign exchange receipts and payments. There are different approaches in the industry.

Alipay is realized through cooperative banks

Alipay realizes mobile payment for foreign tourists visiting China through mini-programs of cooperative banks.

According to the 21st Century Business Herald reporter, the Alipay App opened Alipay scan code payment to foreign tourists visiting China this time. It was not a “tied card” payment but a “mini-program” cooperation with a mainland city commercial bank. The bank card is recharged to an electronic consumer card to realize the function of foreign tourists visiting China to pay in Mainland China. Visitors from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, such as Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, may not use this feature when entering the Mainland.

China Mobile Payment has covered cities to villages, and cash usage has fallen sharply. However, without a Chinese bank account number and local mobile phone number, it has been difficult for foreigners to use various mobile payment tools such as Alipay, WeChat Pay, and UnionPay Cloud Flash Payment in China.

For the 90-day payment of 2,000 yuan for foreign tourists visiting China, Ant Financial said that it would use service number guidance and other methods to hope that foreign tourists visiting China use small high-frequency scenarios instead of large consumption such as luxury goods. .

Tencent said that WeChat Pay will pilot support consumer purchases in 12306, including ticket purchases, Didi Chuxing, and other food, clothing and housing. In the future, under the guidance of supervision and strict implementation of anti-money laundering related policies, further orderly release of more uses Scenes. However, no products have been launched yet.

Same as For compatriots in Hong Kong and Macau, the two domestic payment giants WeChat Pay (Caipaytong) and Alipay have opened Wechat Pay and Alipay HK in Hong Kong, China to support local currency payments.

In addition, overseas users can use their mainland bank cards to bind WeChat payments, etc., and they can bind through five types of documents: passport, Hong Kong and Macau Home Return Permit, Taiwan compatriot card, Hong Kong and Macao resident residence card and Taiwan resident residence card.

Regulatory compliance arrangements

Although the design of the product structure is quite ingenious, so that foreign tourists visiting China can scan and pay in the mainland of China, the Alipay model has still caused controversy in the payment industry.

Related Ant Financial said that foreigners can use the foreign mobile phone number to enter the Alipay App international version and enter the tour pass applet. Visitors to China can bind their own Visa, Mastercard, JCB and other overseas bank cards to recharge funds to the tour pass electronic consumer card to scan codes in Mainland China.

Among them, the tour pass is an electronic consumer card developed by the Bank of Shanghai, and the funds are handled by the Bank of Shanghai. Alipay and the Bank of Shanghai will file regulatory compliance arrangements with the regulator.

At present, Shanghai Bank has no response to this. The Alipay applet shows that the application is only open to some customers.

Controversy in the industry for foreign currency card payments in China. A veteran of the payment industry said that the overseas bank card s domestic payment function is equivalent to the acquisition of a foreign currency card, which may be used to break regulatory restrictions .

At present, foreign currency cards are not allowed to be used in China. In June this year, China UnionPay obtained a bank card clearing business license issued by the central bank. Since 2018, after the central bank issued notices, VISA, MasterCard, and JCB single-signature credit cards issued by major banks are only available outside China (including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan).

鹞 Zhao Yan, a researcher invited by the Financial Clearing Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that during the Beijing Winter Olympics, how to facilitate the use of retail payment tools by foreign guests and foreign athletes is an urgent issue. The opening of third-party payments to foreigners to enable them to facilitate card binding and payment is a necessary step. International card organizations accept foreign currency cards to open to foreign cardholders. This is an inevitable step in the opening of the financial services market. Otherwise , it is difficult for China s mobile payment to go global. Opportunity.

In this case, the foreign card organization chose to set up a subsidiary and apply for a liquidation license.

3In March of this year, Wanglian and Mastercard jointly established MasterCard in Beijing, which intends to apply for a RMB bank card clearing license and issue Mastercard in China. At the end of 2018, American Express initiated the establishment of a joint venture Hangzhou ( Hangzhou) Technology Services Co., Ltd. in China, and submitted a preparation application for bank card clearing institutions.

For third-party payments, according to the relevant regulations of payment institutions, non-financial institutions and representative offices of overseas financial institutions in China are not allowed to issue credit cards and act as agents for settlement and collection of agents.

In April 2019, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange issued the Administrative Measures on the Foreign Exchange Business of Payment Institutions. The foreign exchange business of payment institutions refers to the small, fast and convenient electronic payment provided by payment institutions for cross-border transactions of market transaction subjects through cooperative banks Services, including agency foreign exchange settlement and sales services and related funds collection and payment services.

China s mobile payment users rank first in the world. According to CNNIC data, the number of mobile phone network payment (mobile payment) users nationwide in 2018 reached 587 million, with an annual growth rate of 10.7%.

In the same period, the National Bureau of Statistics released data showing that in 2018, foreign tourists entering the Chinese mainland reached 30.54 million, an increase of 4.7%; in addition, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan compatriots had 111 million, an increase of 0.3%.

Data released by the Ministry of Science and Technology shows that China is increasingly becoming an ideal habitat for talent innovation and entrepreneurship in countries around the world. In 2018, China issued a total of 336,000 foreign talent work permits and more than 950,000 foreigners working in China .

China mobile payment has grown rapidly. According to central bank data, in the first quarter of 2019, there were 19.690 billion mobile payment services nationwide with an amount of 86.62 trillion yuan, an increase of 79.60% and 22.32% year-on-year respectively . Non-bank payment institutions processed 114.832 billion online payment services, with an amount of 58.00 trillion yuan, an increase of 34.80% and 13.44% year-on-year respectively.

At present, support policies for the use of mobile payments in mainland China by compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, foreign tourists visiting China, and foreigners resident in China are being introduced.

For Taiwan compatriots, in February last year, the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, the Development and Reform Commission and other ministries issued Several Measures on Promoting Cross-Strait Economic and Cultural Exchanges and Cooperation, stating that Taiwan s financial institutions and merchants can cooperate with China UnionPay and mainland non-bank payment institutions in accordance with law Cooperation to provide convenient micropayment services for Taiwan compatriots.

On August 23, the General Office of the State Council issued the Opinions on Further Stimulating the Potential of Cultural and Tourism Consumption, which mentioned the need to enhance the inbound tourism environment, improve the mobile payment solution for inbound tourists, improve the multilingual service level of consumer venues, and increase tourists. Consumer convenience.

On the evening of October 30, the central bank s Shanghai headquarters issued the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Development of Fintech and Supporting the Construction of a Fintech Center in Shanghai . The opinion pointed out that the application scenarios for optimizing payment and clearing services and the use of fintech to optimize the financial infrastructure for the internationalization of the RMB, Explore the barriers to the application of third-party payment tools by compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and foreign users.

In the longer term, China intends to launch digital currencies. With the introduction of DC / EP, foreigners entering the country can exchange DC / EP like cash, and only need to bring a mobile phone to facilitate payment, especially in some scenarios where bank card penetration is insufficient, such as taxis, subways and The advantages of DC / EP can be highlighted in public transportation systems.

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