Chinese payment platforms improve services, facilitating foreigners visiting China

2024-03-08 13:29:42Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

In response to a recent notice from the State Council and People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's leading payment platforms Alipay and Weixin Pay have introduced a series of measures to improve payment services for foreign nationals. This initiative marks China's latest effort to facilitate easier access for foreigners visiting the country.

Following the notice issued by the central bank and the State Council on Thursday, Alipay announced enhancements to its services for foreigners, including increased transaction limits, the ability to link international bank cards, and the introduction of new services such as multi-lingual support. It also supports 10 overseas online wallets to directly use Alipay's services.

Similarly, Weixin Pay, one of China's major payment platforms, updated the process for foreign users to link international bank cards by simplifying identity verification and registration requirements.

The changes have led to a significant increase in transactions through Weixin Pay with international cards, with the number of daily transactions in February 2024 rising nearly fivefold compared to pilot phases of the services.

These measures stem from China's central bank and State Council's latest efforts to improve online payment services and reflect China's commitment to implementing a high-level of opening-up.

On March 1, PBOC announced measures to guide Chinese payment platforms to increase the single transaction limit for foreign nationals using mobile payment services from $1,000 to $5,000 and the annual transaction limit from $10,000 to $50,000, as part of efforts to enhance payment convenience.

On Thursday, the State Council revealed plans to improve payment services for international consumers at various tourism and entertainment venues, both online and offline. The central bank also stressed to continue enhancing mobile payment convenience for foreigners and to optimize the environment for using bank cards and cash.

The new measures are expected to significantly ease consumption by foreigners in China, a country known for its widespread adoption and large scale of mobile and online payment systems. According to data from Bank of China, from February 9 to 14, the China UnionPay and NetsUnion Clearing Corporation processed 15.38 billion online payment transactions, amounting to 7.74 trillion yuan ($1.08 trillion), reflecting a year-on-year increase of 15.8 percent and 10.1 percent respectively.

In a related move to attract more foreigners to China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Thursday that from March 14 China will waive visa requirements for citizens from six European countries, including Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg. It is expected to further boost tourism and promote China's ongoing efforts toward greater openness.

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