Alipay is the most popular payment service in the world. China has quickly adopted the use of mobile payment services, with Alipay being the leading electronic payment provider in the country.
But you may not even have heard of it. So what exactly is Alipay and how does it work? Is it really safe to use? And what are the benefits of Alipay?
What is Alipay?
Alipay is a free professional financial services app owned by the Alibaba Group. It contains an e-wallet in which users can save their debit or credit card information and use it to make online or in-store payments.
It is also a money transfer app similar to Venmo, allowing users to send money from their mobile devices.
Alipay is a popular mobile payment application in China, working with domestic and international financial institutions such as Mastercard and Visa. With the support of 18 different foreign currencies and active expansion into neighboring countries, its reach is expanding beyond China.
Apart from being an e-wallet application, Alipay also offers other financial and social services to its users. In the app, users can buy insurance, order groceries, call a taxi, and even open a personal credit line. Alipay is rated as a superior app due to its versatility, which explains its widespread adoption.
How does Alipay work?
Since Alipay is designed for Chinese users and businesses, a Chinese bank account is required for long-term use. However, for foreigners visiting China, Alipay has a short-term feature called Tour Pass, which allows them to use its services for 90 days.
To use Alipay, you must first Download the app Sign up, after which a digital wallet is created for you. To fund the wallet, users must link a credit or debit card.
This digital wallet can be used to pay for both online and in-store purchases, although the procedures are slightly different. On the online store checkout page, choose Alipay as your payment method. You will be directed to a new page with a QR code; Open your Alipay app and scan the code to complete the payment.
There are two ways to pay for goods or services in the store. The first method is known as the merchant’s QR code method, and the second method is known as the customer check method.
In the merchant QR code method, the cashier hands the user a QR code, which the user scans, enters the required amount, and sends it. The Customer Scan method works in reverse, where the cashier scans a QR code provided by the customer to collect payments.
Is Alipay safe to use?
So far, the company’s safety record has been satisfactory. There have been no reports of fraudsters or hackers gaining access to users’ financial information.
To prevent unauthorized transactions, the mobile payment platform uses advanced encryption and a robust set of security features. It has a risk monitoring system that constantly checks for any suspicious activity on your account.
It also has a two-factor authentication process to authorize payments. To use this feature, you must not only enter a password but also a biometric, such as a fingerprint or face scan.
The app uses effectiveness detection software to distinguish between users’ photos and actual faces for facial scanning, so you’re protected even if someone tries to access your account with a photo of you.
For its users, Alipay has a reputation Buyer Protection System. This is enabled when purchasing products through Alipay instead of transferring funds directly to the seller. Alipay will keep the payment in ESCROW until the user confirms the quality of the product before releasing it to the seller.
How to make Alipay more secure
While these features are convenient, you should take extra precautions, such as making sure that no one other than the cashier scans your payment codes when using the Customer Scan method of payment.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Before paying, check the merchant’s QR codes to avoid paying the wrong person.
Before making any payments, enable two-factor authentication.
Monitor your account and report any unusual activity.
Use unique and secure passwords and PINs.
What are the benefits of using Alipay?
Using Alipay, especially in China, has many advantages. These include:
- protection: Alipay is cashless, so you don’t need to carry a large amount of money when you travel abroad. This also reduces the risk of stolen card information.
- Quick Payments: Paying with Alipay is fast as it only requires a PIN with a biometric authorization. No hitting or counting packets of money.
- wide acceptance: Alipay is widely accepted in stores worldwide. Users can pay for almost anything, and the app includes a large number of services, so you can arrange most of your daily needs without the need for a third party.
- comfort: The app is easy to use, and the fact that you only need to remember your six-digit PIN makes it even more convenient.
Frequently asked questions about Alipay
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Alipay.
Is it possible to use Alipay without a Chinese bank account?
Yes, Alipay has a feature for non-Chinese users called Tour Pass. This is a 90-day service that allows foreigners, especially tourists, to use Alipay with international banking information.
Can I use foreign currency on Alipay instead of Chinese yuan?
Yes, Alipay offers an international payment service that accepts 18 different currencies. Alipay accepts USD, EUR and GBP.
Is there a fee to use the Alipay payment service?
Depending on the type of transaction, you will be charged a service fee. You won’t be charged if you transfer money from your wallet to another Alipay account, but you will be charged 0.1 percent if you transfer money to a bank account.
Is Alipay the same as PayPal?
Alipay is similar to a well-known payment service, PayPal, in that both use card-based payment systems. The only difference is that Alipay users who shop online can defer payment to sellers until they receive the goods or services they paid for.
Can I use Alipay to pay for goods and services in countries other than China?
Yes, Alipay has expanded internationally through a number of affiliated agreements. Shops, banks and hotels, especially in areas frequented by Chinese tourists, have stations and websites that accept Alipay payments.
Should you use Alipay?
There is no real reason not to use it if you are visiting China. Alipay has embraced the cashless Chinese movement, and it seems that its reach will only expand in the future. Its platform is easy to use, secure and is constantly expanding with new services and features. As a result, it is over 1.3 billion subscribers and more 676 million Average monthly active users.
Take advantage of their offers if you can, and remember security measures at all times.
You may be used to paying for items using contact-free methods through credit card or smartphone, but is it really safe to use?
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