Pay like a local: Alipay and Mastercard offer international travelers another convenient way to make cashless payments in China

June 21, 2023 | Beijing

Linking any Mastercard card to the Alipay digital wallet makes e-payments in China even easier.
Tens of millions of merchants across China stand to benefit from a bigger pool of international buyers.

With the resumption of travel and tourism to China in full swing, Mastercard and Alipay, China’s leading digital open platform under Ant Group, today announced the launch of a new payments option that provides international arrivals to China with another simple and secure way to go cashless when visiting the country.

Expanding on a partnership established in 2019 to offer enhanced digital payment solutions to both consumers and merchants, the new service by Alipay and Mastercard offers another safe and convenient way for international visitors to China to pay like a local when traveling around the Chinese Mainland, regardless of where in the world their Mastercard card was issued. Cardholders simply need to link their existing Mastercard credit or debit card to the Alipay digital wallet – and that’s it! There’s no need to set up or top up a prepaid account. (Download the wallet here.)

By having the choice to pay cashless, via mobile devices, at tens of millions of Alipay acceptance locations across the country where QR codes are the most popular form of payment, Mastercard cardholders from around the globe will have the option to transact with ease and convenience while in China, just like locals do.

According to the Mastercard Economics Institute’s fourth annual travel report, Travel Industry Trends 2023, the global sector is rebounding, with leisure travel bookings up roughly 31 percent in March 2023 compared to the same period in 2019, driven by high-income consumers. It is believed that popular travel destinations, including the Chinese Mainland, will actively benefit from this trend.

“We strive to enable more consumers and SMEs to enjoy the benefits brought by inclusive digital payment services,” said Venetia Lee, general manager of Ant Group Greater China International Business. “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.”

For merchants, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Alipay-Mastercard tie up gives them more opportunities to transact with international visitors who will now have access to the most widely accepted payment method in China, allowing them to get around easily, without hassle.

Courtesy of Mastercard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS), overseas card transactions completed on the Alipay digital wallet are processed through Mastercard’s omnichannel payments platform that enables merchants – large and small – to easily accept a payment from anywhere in the world, helping businesses to grow, and consumers to transact safely and securely while at home or abroad.

“This next step in the partnership with Ant Group exemplifies Mastercard’s long term commitment to the China market, and the company’s continuous global effort to power economies and empower people,” said Dennis Chang, executive vice president and division president, Greater China, Mastercard. “As travel and tourism rebound, Mastercard is delighted to partner with Alipay to enable cardholders worldwide to enjoy the ultimate in payments security, convenience, and peace of mind as they work, play, rest, and roam during their journeys to China.”

In addition, travelers holding Mastercard cards issued in South Korea and China’s Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and Taiwan region can register at Mastercard Travel Rewards to enjoy additional privileges such as cashback for spend on popular travel activities such as shopping, dining, sightseeing, and transportation, effective immediately.*

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*Please contact your bank or card issuer for availability and eligibility.

Media Contacts

Yiyang Wang, Mastercard
Martin Mou, Ant Group
Catherine Shen, Weber Shandwick

About Alipay

In the digital era, Alipay has evolved from a trusted payment tool to an open platform that connects businesses, institutions, service providers, and other partners with consumers. Alipay enables partners from various industries to offer safe and convenient payment options. It also enables partners to communicate and deliver different digital services to their customers in China through Alipay mini programs, lifestyle accounts and other tools. The Alipay platform has connected over 80 million businesses with more than one billion consumers.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.