Retailers need to embrace technology with both arms in order to keep up with the ever-growing e-commerce industry. Source: Shutterstock

China: Alipay strikes data deal to dip into lucrative US consumer market

DETERMINED not to miss out on the spoils of the world’s largest consumer market, Alipay is creeping up on reigning mobile payment service Apple Pay through a deal with payments processor First Data Corp. that lets users shop at four million US retailers in North America.

Apple Pay had been enjoying the largest percentage of supporting US merchants as of February, with 36 percent accepting their mobile payment service, reported NFC World. But Alipay, owned by Ant Financial, plans to leverage on its dominating presence in China to get Chinese travelers to use their services while abroad.

Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay currently hold a staggering 90 percent share, combined, in the mobile payments market in China. According to the company, Alipay users can hold American Express, Visa and Mastercard cards and carry out transactions with over 100,000 retailers in 70 international markets.

Alipay North America president Souheil Badran¬†said in a statement: “Our goal is to extend reliable payment services to the over four million Chinese consumers who visit North America every year. Extending our partnership with a premier partner like First Data provides the merchants with a seamless integration and access to consumers who want to continue paying with their lifestyle mobile app.”

Atlanta-based First Data Corp will implement Alipay at the point-of-sale for its US business clients, starting with clients who use the company’s Clover solutions.

According to the agreement, Alipay transactions will be directed through Acculynk, a debit routing solution provider recently acquired by First Data.

“As Alipay’s popularity continues to spread beyond China, we are thrilled Alipay chose First Data to support its acceptance for American businesses of all sizes,” First Data chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano said.

This isn’t the first time Alipay and First Data have worked together – last year, the duo implemented Alipay at selected retail locations in California and New York.

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Mobile wallets and payment apps are becoming increasingly popular in the US market, but the industry is highly competitive – last year, Apple Pay rival CurrentC (which was created by the Merchant Customer Exchange and included retailers such as Walmart, BestBuy, and CVS) tanked after a string of disasters.

One of their disasters involved CurrentC’s inability to provide any real value proposition for customers, reported ARS Technica. The problems were compounded when participating retailers pulled Apply Pay and Google Wallet capabilities from their stores, which was seen as an attempt to force consumers into using the unpopular app.