According to the Hong Kong media “South China Morning Post” report, Alipay operator Ant Financial issued a statement saying that users can use the Alipay app for 90 days without a Chinese bank card, which allows foreign tourists to use Alipay services.
The statement said that Ant Financial will launch an application that will allow foreign visitors to make online payments in China for the first time through its so-called “International Electronic Wallet”.
Foreign visitors have previously been unable to use China’s mobile payment system because the user’s e-wallet must be tied to the local phone number and bank account.
According to the relevant regulations, when applying for a bank account, a non-citizen of the people’s Republic of China must provide a Chinese Temporary Residence Permit valid for more than one year, which is a hard Permit to apply for.
As a result, in the past, foreign tourists were unable to use any mobile payments in China, including Alipay and WeChat Pay which are the main mobile payment channels in China.
The move will open the door to a growing tourist market for Ant Financial. In 2018, China received 30.5 million foreign tourists, a year-on-year increase of 4.7%. Ant Financial said that foreign tourists spent 5.1% more in hotels, shopping, and food last year, which increased to $73.1 billion.
Foreign visitors can now download the Alipay application on iOS and Android devices and register their international version of Alipay with their overseas mobile number.
Foreign tourists can use their international debit or credit card to transfer money to the prepaid card provided by the Bank of Shanghai. The minimum recharge of each card is 100 yuan, and the balance does not exceed 2,000 yuan. The prepaid card is valid for 90 days and the balance will be refunded to the original card after 90 days.