While Venmo and PayPal are well-known in the United States and other countries, Alipay is a popular payment service in China. There, it works as the lead e-payment provider thanks to the extensive use of mobile devices for shopping online. It’s also an alternative to making cashless payments in a world where everyone is connected full-time. In addition, the app helps with money transfers too.
This article will explore this brand new world while introducing Alipay to you. Let’s see how it works, the pros and cons, if the service is safe, and how to create an account. Get ready!
What is Alipay and how does it work?
Starting the article, we already brought some spoilers. But let’s dive into the concept to understand how it works. Alipay is a free-to-use digital payment system similar to other players you might know, such as Venmo and PayPal. It started in 2004 and is one of the most popular services in China for mobile payment. According to Statista, the platform has more than 1,2 billion users worldwide.
Together with WeChat (a popular Chinese instant messaging app similar to WhatsApp, plus also used for payments), Alipay is part of the Alibaba ecosystem. Following the research from Statista, both cover more than 90% of Chinese mobile payments. When it comes to shopping online, the platform serves as an intermediate for international sites with delivery to other countries. AliExpress is an example, as well as all merchants with the service listed as a payment option. In-store purchases through your phone and a QR Code are possible too.
Alipay is a multifunctional app since it works as a digital wallet (similar to Apple Pay), open to some of the main currencies. If you save your debit or credit card details in the app, you can manage a money transfer and make online or in-store purchases using a mobile device. Not to mention other more specific features, such as calling a taxi or ordering groceries.
Is it safe to use Alipay?
You are probably wondering if Alipay is safe, right? The app has specific attributes to ensure your transactions are secure, and so does your data. They include advanced encryption to protect everything within the platform, risk management to keep frauds away, and real-time monitoring (reviewing all payments 24/7).
What about the pros and cons?
Like any service, there are upsides and downsides to analyze before getting started. For the advantages, Alipay is cash-free, which means you don’t need to carry money around when you are abroad. It reduces the risk of losing money, plus gives the convenience of paying by using only your mobile phone.
As a negative point, all funds within the app are not FDCI-insured. So if the company goes bankrupt, you can lose your money. In addition, remember that Alipay is a Chinese platform. Without a local bank account, your access is open during your visit to the country as a short-term for tourists. It lasts 90 days.
How can you start your account at Alipay?
Similar to PayPal, Alipay is free to use. First, download the app from Google Play or the App Store. Then create your account and add your card details. When the service started, only Chinese citizens and businesses could use it. However, the rise in popularity opened the doors to visitors traveling through the country.
Since 2019, tourists have had access to a 90-day Tour Pass to manage payments using the app without a Chinese bank account. It works as a prepaid card. Once you register, you can link a credit or debit card to add funds to your digital wallet:
- Open the “Me” section, enter “My Accounts: Cards, Membership”, and tap on the “My Cards – Add Now” button;
- Choose a password with six digits and tap on “My Cards – Add Now” again;
- Fill out your card details, email address, and other personal data;
- Enter your ID using your Passport (if you live outside China) or search for Tour Pass;
- Check and type the SMS phone verification code;
- Complete the remaining details, load funds, and you are ready to start.
Before using it, your balance should have a minimum amount of 100 CNY (about 14 USD) and a maximum of 2,000 CNY (about 293 USD). Check the exchange rates from the day since they change often. For online purchases, look for Alipay as your payment method when checking out.
Use your phone to scan a QR Code and complete the payment for in-store purchases. You can also count on a multi-currency account to make your life easy whenever you are abroad.
Meet Husky as your reliable partner whenever you need to deal with foreign currencies. Open your free account today and get started.