Look to China's Tourists for Trends as Mobile Travel Payment Options Expand for Airlines
VP, Sales - APAC
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Look to China’s Tourists for Trends as Mobile Travel Payment Options Expand for Airlines

With mobile payments firmly entrenched in its domestic market, China’s mobile payment providers are now pursuing Chinese tourists’ mobile payments worldwide. Both Alipay and messaging giant WeChat, the primary payment solutions in China, are establishing partnerships outside of China so that Chinese tourists can continue using Alipay and WeChat as they visit other regions. Current partnerships include Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia, South Korea and the U.S.

According to Connected Life, 40% of connected consumers in China pay with mobile devices on a weekly basis, making the country the largest single global market.

Why is this news so important?

Payment trends that emerge in China typically set the pace for payment activities and behaviors elsewhere around the globe, and recent product roll-outs and payment-related announcements reinforce the need for airlines and travel companies to support and modernize their mobile payment strategies to stay tuned to their passengers’ behaviors and new products from payment/technology innovators.

Beyond China, here’s a look at what’s happening the alternative payment market around the world.

In the Asia-Pacific Region (APAC):

  • PayPal and Visa have extended their U.S. partnership to the Asian-Pacific market. This partnership is expected to make it easier for Visa-issuing banks in APAC countries to offer cardholders the ability to check out anywhere PayPal is accepted online.
  • In Australia, regulators have handed Apple Inc. a victory in the company’s global effort to prevent banks from introducing their mobile payment services on Apple devices. According to CNBC, the decision will stop banks from introducing mobile applications on iPhones and Apple Watches that could be used for contactless payments instead of the Apple Wallet. The banks wanted access to Apple devices to circumvent transaction fees and encourage customer engagement with the banks’ own apps.

New mobile payment technologies and capabilities:

  • In the U.S., Wells Fargo will allow customers to use smartphones or smartwatches to withdraw money from 13,000 ATMs (or “electronic banking kiosks”). The bank will support Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. Bank of America said last summer that it is adding cardless ATMS with support for Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Microsoft Wallet.
  • Customers of Germany’s Deutsche Bank can now make host card emulation-based mobile payments using a Mastercard linked to the bank’s mobile app. Customers can upload the app to Android smartphones and use a Mastercard credit or debit card to make cashless payments worldwide.
  • Android Pay is now available in Belgium, with Google noting that country is the 10th to support its mobile payment service. In a blog post, Google says that more than 85,000 retail locations will support Android Pay, including major retail brands such as H&M, Media Markt and Carrefour.
  • Western Union says its U.S. customers can use Apple Pay within Apple’s iOS app when sending money transfers from the U.S. to domestic recipients or to more than 200 countries.
  • Samsung has announced the launch of the “early access phase” for its Samsung Pay mobile payments services in the United Arab Emirates, with testing of the service extended to six local banks. Samsung has teamed up with Paytm – the country’s largest mobile wallet with 200 million registered users – to add support for its digital payment service.
  • In India, the WhatsApp messaging app is reportedly launching a digital payments service in the coming months – another element in India’s gradual shift toward a “cashless” economy.

CellPoint Mobile was involved in the earliest deployments of Android Pay and Apple Pay by a major airline (Emirates) in late 2015. Our scalable Velocity solution is built specifically for airlines and travel companies as they roll out the payment methods and mobile commerce strategies that make sense for their markets, passengers and revenue goals.

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