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Pay Like a Local: Alipay and Mastercard Offer International Travelers Another Convenient Way to Make Cashless Payments in China

Linking any Mastercard card to the Alipay digital wallet makes e-payments in China even easier

Tens of millions of merchants across China stand to benefit from a bigger pool of international buyers

SINGAPORE, June 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — With the resumption of travel and tourism to China in full swing, Mastercard and Alipay, China’s leading digital open platform under Ant Group, today announced the launch of a new payments option that provides international arrivals to China with another simple and secure way to go cashless when visiting the country.

Expanding on a partnership established in 2019 to offer enhanced digital payment solutions to both consumers and merchants, the new service by Alipay and Mastercard offers another safe and convenient way for international visitors to China to pay like a local when traveling around the Chinese Mainland, regardless of where in the world their Mastercard card was issued. Cardholders simply need to link their existing Mastercard credit or debit card to the Alipay digital wallet – and that’s it! There’s no need to set up or top up a prepaid account. (Download the wallet here.)

By having the choice to pay cashless, via mobile devices, at tens of millions of Alipay acceptance locations across the country where QR codes are the most popular form of payment, Mastercard cardholders from around the globe will have the option to transact with ease and convenience while in China, just like locals do.

According to the Mastercard Economics Institute’s fourth annual travel report, Travel Industry Trends 2023, the global sector is rebounding, with leisure travel bookings up roughly 31 percent in March 2023 compared to the same period in 2019, driven by high-income consumers. It is believed that popular travel destinations, including the Chinese Mainland, will actively benefit from this trend.

“We strive to enable more consumers and SMEs to enjoy the benefits brought by inclusive digital payment services,” said Venetia Lee, General Manager of Ant Group Greater China International Business. “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.”

For merchants, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Alipay-Mastercard tie up gives them more opportunities to transact with international visitors who will now have access to the most widely accepted payment method in China, allowing them to get around easily, without hassle. 

Courtesy of Mastercard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS), overseas card transactions completed on the Alipay digital wallet are processed through Mastercard’s omnichannel payments platform that enables merchants – large and small – to easily accept a payment from anywhere in the world, helping businesses to grow, and consumers to transact safely and securely while at home or abroad.

“This next step in the partnership with Ant Group exemplifies Mastercard’s long term commitment to the China market, and the company’s continuous global effort to power economies and empower people,” said Dennis Chang, Executive Vice President and Division President, Greater China, Mastercard. “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.”

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 to enjoy additional privileges such as cashback for spend on popular travel activities such as shopping, dining, sightseeing, and transportation, effective immediately.