Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, today announced a new agreement with Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform, which will allow retailers to accept Alipay transactions in stores across the UK.
Building on a successful pilot over the past two years, the new agreement will enable UK retailers to take full advantage of the growing volume and buying power of Chinese visitors. In addition to the UK’s 393,000 Chinese residents and 95,000 Chinese students, tourists from China represent an increasingly important customer segment for retailers. VisitBritain is expecting 483,000 visits from China in 2019, up 43% on 2017, with Chinese visitors expected to spend more than £1 billion this year, up 50%, moving it well into the UK’s top 10 tourism markets. The increase in market size is also demonstrated by the fact that the number of Alipay users in the UK has doubled in the last year.
By accepting Alipay, the world’s most-used app in 2018 outside of social apps according to App Annie, retailers will be able to capitalise on the growing appetite of Chinese tourists to use mobile payments over cash while abroad. According to a 2018 survey conducted by Nielsen, the vast majority (93%) of Chinese tourists said they would likely spend more in a store that accepted mobile payments. In addition, among the merchants surveyed that had adopted Alipay, nearly 60% said that they had clearly seen growth in both foot traffic and revenue.
The new agreement will enable UK retailers to accept in-store Alipay payments without replacing their existing point-of-sale system, allowing them to take advantage of the boom in Chinese tourism without disrupting their existing customer experience[. Retailers will also benefit from being at the fingertips of hundreds of millions of highly-engaged Alipay users, who will be able to search for outlets near their location to find out details such as opening hours, directions, and whether there are any discounts available.
Alipay serves over one billion users worldwide together with local e-wallet partners, and this new agreement offers its Chinese users travelling in the UK the familiar mobile payment and lifestyle experience they enjoy at home, as well as Alipay’s competitive foreign exchange rate.
Feedback from retailers has been incredibly positive; Barclaycard is already in discussions with around 70 clients interested in becoming early adopters.
Rob Cameron, CEO, global head of payment acceptance at Barclaycard, said:“Thanks to the significant investments we’ve made in our platform, our clients have access to a growing range of payment types, each of which can help them increase market share by meeting the needs of new customers.
“Our new agreement with Alipay gives retailers a vital tool to help them seize the revenue opportunity posed by the growth of Chinese visitors to the UK. At the same time, Alipay users will benefit from a more convenient and familiar in-store payments process – enhancing their overall shopping experience.”
Roland Palmer, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Alipay, said: “Alipay is excited to announce that it will be working with Barclaycard to provide visitors from China with the mobile payment experience that they are already familiar with. Through this strategic partnership, Alipay will now be able to offer many more UK merchants the opportunity to connect and engage with a growing number of Chinese visitors. This is another step forwards in our vision to offer Chinese tourists a seamless travel and payment experience when travelling overseas.”