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Digital Wallets Provide Local Touch to Connected Travel Experiences

Digital Wallets Provide Local Touch to Connected Travel

Alipay+ unveiled a cross-border payments initiative in a move to boost Hong Kong’s tourism and commerce sector.

The platform facilitates transactions for users of 14 overseas mobile wallets and bank apps from nine countries and regions.

Among the eWallets and bank apps newly introduced to the city’s landscape are Hipay from Mongolia, Malaysia’s MyPB by Public Bank Berhad and Touch ’n Go eWalletMPay from Macau SAR, Changi Pay and OCBC Digital from Singapore and Tinaba from Italy. This expansion ensures that these platforms, similar to Alipay in mainland China, are now accepted by over 90% of local merchants in Hong Kong.

By enabling users to conduct transactions through their preferred home apps, this integration aims to streamline payment processes, enhance operational efficiency, and elevate service standards in Hong Kong’s retail landscape.

Additionally, the integration of multiple international payment platforms and apps into the city’s digital wallet ecosystem translates into broader customer reach and increased revenue opportunities for merchants, enabling businesses in Hong Kong to cater to the needs and payment preferences of overseas visitors.

“When we pay like locals, we can travel and experience the culture like locals,” Venetia Lee, CEO of AlipayHK and Greater China General Manager of Ant International, said in a Friday (April 26) press release. “… This allows hassle-free payments, promotes the development of Hong Kong’s tourism industry, and helps local merchants enhance the effectiveness of their promotional activities through digital technology.”

In a similar vein, eSIM company eSIM Go has expanded its mobile data service by integrating Western Union’s digital wallets, providing coverage in over 150 countries via its “Powered by Breeze” offering.

The integration enables Western Union digital wallet customers in select European countries, including Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania, to access the solution from their digital banking apps, facilitating transactions in their preferred language and currency.

“Equipping digital wallet customers with global connectivity possibilities serves the dual purpose of traveling with ease and optimizing access to digital banking services from anywhere,” the company said in a March 26 news release. “Western Union eSIMs give customers hassle-free access to wallet-friendly data roaming, either to use on their next foreign trip or to effortlessly send to family and friends living abroad.”

These developments are occurring within the broader landscape of increased adoption of digital wallets such as Apple PayGoogle Wallet and PayPalServing as secure repositories for credit and debit card information, digital wallets provide consumers with a convenient and contactless payment method, freeing them from the necessity of carrying physical cards during travel or shopping errands. Moreover, they enhance online shopping experiences by eliminating the need to input sensitive card data into websites and apps.

Given these advantages, digital wallets have garnered widespread popularity among consumers, as highlighted in PYMNTS Intelligence’s report, “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Can New Use Cases Drive Consumer Use of Digital Wallets?” The trend is particularly pronounced among Generation Z consumers, with nearly 80% regularly using digital wallets.

Looking ahead, the evolution of digital wallets is set to further revolutionize connected travel experiences — a shift that resonates strongly with Gen Z travelers. As the first generation to grow up in a digital-centric world, Gen Z individuals are accustomed to seamless digital experiences and value convenience and efficiency in all aspects of their lives, including travel.

Digital wallets offer a natural extension of their digital lifestyle, providing a streamlined solution for managing transactions on the go, whether it’s purchasing tickets for public transportation, dining at local eateries, or shopping for souvenirs on trips.