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Ant Group boosts transaction limits for international travelers using Alipay

International visitors using mobile payment at a food merchant in China
International visitors using mobile payment at a food merchant in China

Ant Group raises cross-border payment limits, enhancing convenience for international travelers in China with Alipay and Alipay+.

In response to China‘s new policies to facilitate international visits, Ant Group is raising the single-transaction limit for international travelers using its cross-border payment services from USD 1000 to USD 5000; and the annual cumulative transaction limit from USD 10,000 to USD 50,000.

The new policies apply to Ant’s twin cross-border mobile payment solutions. International travelers may download the Alipay app and bind their international cards, or use their home wallets to pay like a local thanks to Alipay+, the cross-border payment solution offered by Ant International.

As of February 2024, users of 10 such wallets can enjoy a seamless payment experience on the 80-million-strong merchants network in China, including AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), MPay (Macao SAR, China), Hipay (Mongolia), Changi Pay and OCBC Digital (Singapore), Touch ’n Go eWallet (Malaysia), Kakao Pay, Naver Pay and Toss Pay (South Korea), and TrueMoney (Thailand).

China’s State Council released a guideline to further optimize payment services and increase payment convenience for international travellers. The People’s Bank of China (PBC) has also recently announced that it will guide payment platforms to raise 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.

For expats and other international visitors, Alipay has launched a multi-language translation function for international visitors. Travel to China is expected to pick up in 2024 with new visa-free policies and efforts to increase the number of international flights. During Chinese New Year 2024, data from Alipay showed a 500% increase in spending via international card-enabled Alipay accounts at merchants in the Chinese mainland compared to 2023.

The A+ China Program

In September 2023, Ant International introduced the “Alipay+-in-China” (A+ China) Program, which enabled 10 Asian e-wallets to be used in the Chinese Mainland. Users from Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR, can pay seamlessly with their home payment apps at tens of millions of merchants across the country, wherever Alipay works, to enjoy secure, smooth and cashless payment, and transparent and competitive exchange rates. AlipayHK, Touch ’n Go eWallet and Kakao Pay were the first three e-wallets to be enabled, and in a six month period in the leadup to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, transactions grew 47 times, reflecting the preference for tourists to travel and pay like a local. Alipay+ said it will continue to widen the service coverage for overseas wallet users, including broader public transportation and ride-hailing services.

Leading Asian e-wallets are responding positively to this new development, and believe it will make travel within the Chinese mainland even more convenient for their users.

Alan Ni, Chief Executive Officer of TNG Digital Sdn. Bhd., the operator of Touch ‘n Go eWallet, Malaysia’s favorite eWallet, said: “Capturing more than 50% of the market share in Malaysia, TNG Digital is proud to be one of the first overseas eWallets accepted in the Chinese mainland. The recent policy change by the People’s Bank of China, raising transaction limits for foreign nationals utilizing mobile payment services, marks a monumental leap forward in global payment convenience. This development underscores our unwavering commitment to becoming the ultimate travel companion eWallet for our esteemed users. Not only does it streamline our users’ travel experiences, but it also empowers them to explore an array of local merchants, providing unparalleled flexibility in their shopping and travel endeavors. We are excited about the opportunities this expansion brings to both our users, and also the merchants in the Chinese mainland.”

John Sun, CEO of Macao’s MPay, said: “This policy will undoubtedly be beneficial in promoting the economic development and integration process of the Greater Bay Area. It will further upgrade the payment experience and satisfaction of international tourists visiting Macao and the Bay Area. As the preferred payment platform for Macao residents, MPay will also strengthen its promotional operations before, during, and after travel, expand more consumption scenarios in retail, dining, culture, leisure entertainment, and tourism, and support the promotion of Macao’s ‘1+4’ moderate and diverse industrial development strategy. MPay continues to commit to helping merchants better serve international tourists visiting Macao through innovative one-stop acquiring technology services, addressing the pain points of cross-border payments for international tourists, and creating an interconnected international payment digital ecosystem for the Macao market.”

Naranbat Battulga, Founder and Chairman of Hipay LLC, said: “By joining Alipay+ payment, our users are delighted by the convenient payment option with their home e-wallet. However, based on our data, over 85% of our users tend to pay over US$1000 per transaction. Therefore, we are delighted to hear the news that per transaction and annual transaction limit has increased 5 times, which will bring tremendous convenience to end users.”

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.