Alipay launches prepaid card for international visitors
Alipay has launched a new prepaid card service for international visitors to China, supported by Bank of Shanghai, in a first for the country.
Available immediately, international users can register via the Alipay app with their mobile phone number and access the “Tour Pass” program. Though this they can then gain access to a prepaid card service underpinned by Bank of Shanghai.
Users will be able to top up the prepaid card from debit or credit accounts with their regular bank. The minimum top-up for each card is CNY 100 ($14.28), with balance capped at CNY 2,000. Each card is valid for 90 days, after which funds are automatically transferred back.
According to Chinese government data, the country had 30.5 million international visitors in 2018, a yearly increase of 4.7%. Expenditure by tourists rose in the same time frame by 5.1% to $73.1 billion.
Alipay, together with its local e-wallet partners in Asia, serves more than 1.2 billion users with its QR code payment services.
It controls around 54% of the mobile payments market in China, according to iResearch Consulting, while compatriot and rival WeChat Pay accounts for 40%.