Alipay and Mastercard have teamed up to offer a new payment option for international visitors to China, allowing them to go cashless while traveling around China’s mainland, the two companies announced Wednesday (June 21).
Venetia Lee, general manager of Ant Group Greater China International Business, believes that this new service will not only enhance the experience for international travelers but also unlock more business opportunities for merchants on the Alipay open platform.
The Alipay-Mastercard partnership allows overseas card transactions completed on the Alipay digital wallet to be processed through Mastercard’s omnichannel payments platform. This means that small and medium-sized businesses can easily accept payments from anywhere in the world, said Dennis Chang, executive vice president and division president, Greater China, Mastercard.
According to the Mastercard Economics Institute’s fourth annual travel report, Travel Industry Trends 2023, global travel is on the upswing, with leisure travel bookings up roughly 31% in March 2023 compared to the same period in 2019, driven by high-income consumers.
“The new service offered by Alipay and Mastercard will not only enable a better experience for international travelers when visiting China but will also unlock more business opportunities for merchants on the Alipay open platform as global travel is set for rapid growth,” Lee said.
There’s also is increased interest in more localized payment options, according to Ivan Guerrero, director of Airlines and Travel EMEA – Digital Commerce Division at Worldline, who talked with PYMNTS recently. The continued travel rebound means merchants can capitalize on that momentum by offering efficient and localized cross-border payments.
The new service expands on a partnership established in 2019 to offer enhanced digital payment solutions to both consumers and merchants. Travelers to China will now be able to pay like a local when traveling around the Chinese mainland, regardless of where their Mastercard card was issued. Cardholders simply need to link their existing Mastercard credit or debit card to the Alipay digital wallet.
“As travel and tourism rebounds, Mastercard is delighted to partner with Alipay to enable cardholders worldwide to enjoy the ultimate in payments security, convenience, and peace of mind as they work, play, rest, and roam during their journeys to China,” Chang said.
In addition, travelers holding Mastercard cards issued in South Korea and China’s Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, and Taiwan region can register at Mastercard Travel Rewards for perks such as cashback on shopping, dining, sightseeing and transportation.