The popular mobile payment app Alipay in China has announced a significant increase in transaction limits for foreign visitors. Previously capped at $500 annually without the need for ID registration, the new limit has now been raised to $2,000, allowing international tourists to make larger purchases using the app. This move is aimed at attracting more foreign travelers to the country, especially after a decline in visitors due to the pandemic-related border controls.

The impact of this increased transaction limit will be felt most by international tourists who rely on mobile payment solutions for their daily purchases while visiting China. With mobile payments being widely used in the country, this change aligns with Beijing’s efforts to make it easier for foreign travelers to navigate payment systems during their stay. However, challenges with real-name verification have often hindered the use of mobile pay by foreign visitors in the past.

Alipay, operated by Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group, is one of the major mobile payment apps in China, alongside Tencent-owned WeChat Pay. While Alipay has raised its ID-free transaction limit to $2,000 for foreign visitors, WeChat Pay has not provided specific details on its limits but mentioned that some transactions can be completed without ID registration. This difference highlights the competition between the two platforms to attract and retain international users.

In addition to the increased annual limit, Alipay has also raised the single transaction limit for users who register their IDs to $5,000, up from $1,000. The annual transaction limit for registered users has also been increased to $50,000, allowing for more flexibility in making larger purchases. These changes align with recent announcements from the People’s Bank of China to facilitate mobile payments for foreign visitors in the country.

Expansion of Alipay+ Program

To further support foreign visitors in China, Alipay has introduced the Alipay+ program, which allows users of selected overseas mobile payment apps to scan Alipay QR codes directly for payments. This program includes users from countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Hong Kong, and Macao, facilitating seamless transactions for international travelers.

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, the possibility of raising the transaction limit threshold beyond $2,000 is being considered by the People’s Bank of China, according to Deputy Governor Zhang Qingsong. This potential change could further enhance the convenience of using mobile payment apps for foreign visitors in China, making it easier for them to navigate daily transactions without the need for extensive ID registration requirements.

Finance

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