Blackhawk Network, the financial technology company, and Alipay, the digital payment service operated by Ant Financial Services Group, have inked a partnership to expand the use of Alipay in the United States.
According to a press release, Blackhawk’s network of retail partners will soon start accepting Alipay from Chinese tourists visiting the United States. Blackhawk said the service will be rolled out in select retailers starting this month, when the merchants will be able to accept Alipay as an in-store payment method.
"Until now, Chinese tourists lacked convenient access to information on what payment methods were accepted at U.S. retailers they wished to visit," said Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk. "Alipay is ubiquitous in China, and represents an effective way for retailers to engage with Chinese travelers. We are excited to offer our retail partners a way to better connect with Chinese consumers by alleviating the major pain points of shopping, researching and paying while visiting and ultimately, providing Alipay users with an excellent shopping experience while they travel here in the U.S."
Blackhawk’s payment service for retailers uses in-store QR codes to access the company’s platform.
Last week, Alipay announced it had entered into a partnership with French apparel brand Lacoste, which will enable Alipay acceptance in select U.S. stores. In a press release, Alipay stated that the technology firm Verifone would facilitate Alipay QR code payments using its Verifone e355 mobile point of sale (mPOS) terminal. According to Alipay, the two began working together in 2016 to enable European and North American merchants to accept Alipay in stores.
In addition to accepting Alipay as a payment method, merchants with the Verifone mPOS can also create marketing campaigns targeting Chinese consumers who use Alipay. According to the press release, approximately 3 million Chinese tourists visit the U.S. every year, spending $33 billion in 2016.