First Data, Alipay Partner to Bring Popular Chinese Mobile Payment Option to U.S.

First Data, a global leader in commerce-enabling technology, announced a new partnership with Alipay, one of the world’s leading online payment platforms, to bring the Alipay mobile payment solution to United States merchants. Beginning in November, Alipay will be available to Chinese consumers shopping at select retail locations in California and New York. Participating retailers at those locations will use First Data’s Clover Mini point-of-sale solution to accept Alipay.

“There are more than 450 million loyal Alipay users in China and roughly two million of those users visit the United States each year,” said Frank Bisignano, First Data Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “First Data is honored to partner with Alipay to make this popular payment option available to Chinese consumers traveling in the U.S. This is another example of First Data leadership, helping our clients grow their businesses while helping consumers facilitate safe and secure payments anywhere in the world.”

First Data is the largest merchant acquirer in the United States, serving more than four million merchant locations. The U.S. is a popular destination for Chinese tourists and those visitors are projected to spend $40 billion in 2017, continuing a recent trend of double-digit spending growth, according to Ant Financial Services Group, parent of Alipay and related company of Alibaba Group. Shopping is the number one tourist activity, with Chinese visitors projected to spend between $500 and $3,500 USD per trip. Alipay availability in the U.S. reduces the need for tourists to carry large amounts of cash or to use international credit cards, which traditionally see high decline rates and involve foreign exchange fees.

First Data’s special partnership with Alipay will enable the acceptance of the app at several luxury and specialty retailers in the United States. The Alipay app will identify participating merchants based on the consumer’s mobile device geolocation feature. In-store signage will also identify Alipay-accepting merchants. The Alipay app will display discounts, coupons, and other promotions to the Chinese visitors before, during, and after their visit.

“Over 450 million users use their Alipay app everyday, ranging from shopping, movie-ticketing, paying their utilities bills, and Ant Financial aims to bring the ‘taste of home’ to them when they are traveling abroad,” Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Ant Financial and Head of Alipay International, said. “Partnering with First Data will help more U.S. merchants extend reliable payment services to Chinese tourists.”

First Data’s Clover Mini plays a key role in the transaction, making the shopper’s experience consistent with their check-out in China. Introduced in 2015, Clover Mini meets the demands of a rapidly changing commerce marketplace, enabling merchants to accept most payment types, including swipe, PIN Debit, EMV (chip + PIN; chip + signature) and NFC transactions. Additionally, Clover Mini operates with the same power as the original First Data Clover device, Clover Station®, in a much smaller package, meaning business owners can access the same intuitive tools without compromising on space.

The Clover Mini also possesses best-in-class speed, processing EMV transactions in as little as 2.93 seconds.