Visitors to China can now link their Visa and Mastercard accounts to the country’s most popular mobile payment applications, Alipay and WeChat Pay.
Ant Group, the operator of Alipay, said Friday (July 21) that overseas users of the platform can now link Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and Discover cards to their mobile wallets, CNN reported Friday.
Tencent, the owner of WeChat, which is known in China as Weixin Pay, announced Thursday (July 20) that users of the app can now link their cards issued by Visa, Mastercard, JCB or Discover to make payments at tens of millions of merchants in China.
Alipay did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment. Tencent announced its change in a Thursday press release.
Combined, Alipay and WeChat Pay own a 91% market share in digital payment services, according to the CNN report.
Both companies began allowing the use of foreign credit cards on their apps at select merchants in 2019, but they have been loosening the restrictions in recent months as China lifted its pandemic-era restrictions, the report said.
These new partnerships will provide much-needed convenience to foreigners so they can easily navigate the cashless Chinese payment world that racks up $434 trillion worth of transactions each year, per the report.
Tencent said in its Thursday press release: “With the upcoming international sporting events such as the FISU World University Games in Chengdu and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, the number of incoming overseas tourists continues to rise. Tencent strives to improve mobile payment experience and offer more convenience for overseas users, through initiatives such as supporting international cards on Weixin Pay and connecting overseas local wallets with the Mainland of China.”
When Alipay announced in June that it has teamed up with Mastercard to offer cashless payments to international travelers to China, Venetia Lee, general manager of Ant Group Greater China International Business, said: “The new service offered by Alipay and Mastercard will not only enable a better experience for international travelers 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.”