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Ant Group raises cross-border transaction limit to $5,000
Tue, 12th Mar 2024

Ant Group has announced the increase of single-transaction limits for international travellers utilising its cross-border payment services, raising the limit from US$1,000 to US$5,000. At the same time, the annual cumulative transaction limit has also seen a jump from US$10,000 to US$50,000. This move comes in response to China's latest policies aimed at simplifying international visits.

The updated policies are set to affect Ant's twin cross-border mobile payment solutions, Alipay and Alipay+. International travellers can essentially 'pay like a local' by downloading the Alipay app, binding their international cards, or utilising their home wallets. Facilitated by Alipay+, 10 e-wallets around the globe now link travellers to a merchant network within China totalling 80-million strong.

These substantial developments follow policy changes put forward by China. On March 7th, 2024, the State Council of China released guidelines aimed at further streamlining payment services and boosting payment convenience for international visitors. This coincides with the People’s Bank of China's recent decision to guide payment platforms in raising the single transaction and annual transaction limits for foreign nationals.

Measures to further facilitate international transactions come in anticipation of increased travel to China, driven by new visa-free policies and advancements in international flight routes. Evidence of the potential uptick in international spending within China is visible in figures from Chinese New Year 2024, where data from Alipay indicated a 500% rise in spending via international card-enabled Alipay accounts at merchants within the Chinese mainland compared to 2023.

In September 2023, Ant International launched the Alipay+-in-China (A+ China) Program. This allowed 10 Asian e-wallets to operate within the mainland of China, transforming the payment experience for users from Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR, resulting in rapid transaction growth - by 47 times within a six-month period.

Leaders of various e-wallets across Asia have voiced their optimism regarding this new development. Alan Ni, CEO of TNG Digital Sdn. Bhd, which operates Touch n Go eWallet in Malaysia, sees this policy change as a significant step forward in global payment convenience, stating it will "streamline our users' travel experiences" while offering "unparalleled flexibility in their shopping and travel endeavours".

John Sun, CEO of Macao's MPay noted that the policy would promote the economic development of the Greater Bay Area and enhance the payment experiences of international tourists visiting Macao and the Bay Area, expressing an intention to "expand more consumption scenarios in retail, dining, culture, leisure entertainment, and tourism". Similarly, Naranbat Battulga, Founder and Chairman of Hipay LLC, emphasised the value of the increased transaction limits, explaining that "over 85% of our users tend to pay over US$1000 per transaction", and the new policy will bring "tremendous convenience to end users".