Chinese government teams up with WeChat to offer digital social security cards

China’s social security system turns to WeChat for electronic ID — South China Morning Post — “Government trials in 26 cities will have Tencent’s WeChat replace traditional state-issued social security cards with digital version tied to users’ accounts… The WeChat-based electronic social security cards will enable users to provide their identification, status, payment records and other relevant information to official online inquiries about benefits and insurance coverage.”


Guangzhou pilot lets consumers use WeChat to create an official digital ID

WeChat poised to become China’s official electronic ID system — South China Morning Post — “The WeChat ID programme was co-developed by the research institute of the Ministry of Public Security and Tencent’s WeChat team, and supported by various banks and several other government departments. The project is expected to help deter online identity theft, as facial recognition technology is used to verify applicants before their virtual ID cards get authorised. Those verified will be able to use their WeChat ID to register in hotels and apply for government services without the need of bringing their physical ID cards.”


China UnionPay launches mobile wallet app

UnionPay takes mobile payment services fight to Alibaba and Tencent with integrated app — South China Morning Post — “UnionPay said the app could be linked to more than one bank account by different banks with all of their mobile payment services accepted and conducted via the platform… The country’s dominant bank card clearing service provider also launched a nationwide promotional campaign with aggressive discounts to attract consumers who have been increasingly using Alipay and Tenpay services for shopping.”


Alipay pushes into Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the Philippines with Christmas shopping festival

Alipay to hold online 24-hour Christmas shopping festival as part of expansion push — South China Morning Post — “The event will take place in Hong Kong, India, Thailand and the Philippines with Alipay partners in each location: Hutchison in Hong Kong, Paytm in India, Truemoney in Thailand and GCash in the Philippines… As part of the December event, the AlipayHK joint venture has partnered with more than 8,000 bricks-and-mortar stores to offer exclusive gifts, discounts and rewards.”


Octopus adds QR payments for taxi rides in Hong Kong

Hong Kong e-payment operator Octopus launches QR code service, aiming to get city’s 40,000 taxi drivers off cash — South China Morning Post — “Hong Kong cashless payment operator Octopus has launched a QR code service aimed at small merchants and the city’s 40,000 taxi drivers, who have long been reluctant to accept anything but cash. The new payment method, which only requires a smartphone on each side of the transaction, eliminates the need for merchants to install Octopus card readers, which at certain locations are bound by technical limitations.”


Hong Kong transit operator to test WeChat Pay and Alipay

Contactless competition: WeChat Pay is coming to Hong Kong’s MTR, and Alipay may not be far behind — South China Morning Post — “Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR will soon be given a new quick payment option as the railway operator has partnered with the mainland’s second-largest mobile payment provider WeChat Pay, it announced on Thursday. WeChat Pay’s main rival, Alipay, said it would follow suit in the ‘near future’… While the initiative arguably benefits mainland tourists more than Hongkongers, it breaks a 20-year stronghold by the contactless Octopus card on how train fares can be paid for.”


UnionPay rolls out Apple Pay transit payments in Guangzhou

Buses and subways to become new battlefield for mobile payments — South China Morning Post — “Commuters with UnionPay cards can now pay for their ride with their iPhone or Apple Watch at more than 6,000 subway gates at all stations in the city… Payments will be possible using technology called offline data authentication (ODA), and can be completed regardless of an internet connection… UnionPay estimates 90bn individual trips are made using Chinese buses and subways annually.”


Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants

Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants — South China Morning Post — “Tencent, the Chinese company, over Chinese New Year, in five days processed 46 billion payments. Basically that means 800 million payments per hour. Visa has a maximum capacity of processing 25,000 payments per second. But Alipay can process 50,000 payments, twice as much, per second.”


Apple unveils promotional campaign to win Chinese consumers to Apple Pay

Apple unveils promotional campaign to win Chinese consumers to Apple Pay — South China Morning Post — “Consumers using Apple Pay to make payments in designated online and offline merchants in mainland China that display the logo of UnionPay’s QuickPass facility will receive discounts of up to 50% and as much as 50 times the usual amounts of reward points for credit cards.”


Some Macau cash points deserted as face recognition technology kicks in at ATMs

Some Macau cash points deserted as face recognition technology kicks in at ATMs — South China Morning Post — “One casino employee, who works near an ATM which previously had long queues, said: “I used to see lots of people lining up at the ATMs before but they have vanished since the new machines were installed. Everyone must have gone looking for those without the cameras.”


Ant Financial enters Hong Kong market with AlipayHK mobile wallet

Ant Financial enters Hong Kong market with AlipayHK mobile wallet — South China Morning Post — “The mobile wallet and payments app, dubbed AlipayHK, is similar to its Chinese counterpart Alipay — registered users are able to top up their mobile wallets and make in-store payments that are settled in Hong Kong dollars at merchants such as Watsons, Fortress and at supermarkets like ParknShop.”







HK bank eyes NFC payments

Bank of China (Hong Kong) is in the final stages of testing an NFC payment service that uses a mixture of secure digital memory cards, SIM cards and NFC add-on devices, the South China Morning Post reports... More


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