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Alipay and Mastercard enable cashless payments for foreigners in China
Fri, 23rd Jun 2023

With the resumption of travel and tourism to China, Mastercard and Alipay, the digital open platform under the Ant Group, has announced the launch of a new payment 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 travelling 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. There’s no need to set up or top up a prepaid account. 

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% in March 2023 compared to the same period in 2019, driven by high-income consumers. Popular travel destinations, including the Chinese Mainland, are believed to benefit from this trend actively. 

“We strive to enable more consumers and SMEs to enjoy the benefits brought by inclusive digital payment services,” says Venetia Lee, general manager of the Ant Group Greater China International Business. “The new service offered by Alipay and Mastercard will not only enable a better experience for international travellers 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 now have access to China's most widely accepted payment method, 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 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,” says Dennis Chang, executive vice president and division president for Greater China at Mastercard. “As travel and tourism rebound, 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, travellers 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.