In the US, we pay our bills and shopping with mostly credit cards and cash. The most typical example would be a meal check. When people finish their dinner in a fine restaurant, the waitress usually brings a check on the table, the customers leave the cards they want to pay with, the waitress go and collect the card, swipe it and then send the receipt on the table again to get the signs. However, when it comes to the same situation in China, people just scan a QR code on the table, pay the fee with their phones and leave. Instead of asking “cash or card?”, the cashier asks the customers “WeChat or Zhifubao(Alipay)?”—-two major online payment platforms in China.
Without exaggeration, China’s economic networks is an ocean of QR codes based on mobile devices. In 2019, about 90% of payments in China are facilitated via mobile payment platforms and at least 577.4 million Chinese consumers use mobile payment systems. Which means it is not common to use wallet anymore in China since people basically don’t use cash anymore. You can shop grocery by scanning a code, you can rent a public bicycle by scanning a code, you can buy film tickets, train tickets on your phone without type your card number over and over again, you can get rid of public transportation card by scanning a code when entering the underground station. Everything can be done so easy with a simple scan and click on your phones.
So the question is, why people trust the online payment system and willing to connect their e-banks on these platforms? While, the technology of fingerprint and facial recognition is heavily used on these platforms. When the customers try to create a transaction, it usually asks for these information and makes sure the transaction is safe and valid. The other reason about why people love to use WeChat especially to pay is that, this is originally an app designed as social media for people to post pictures and chat with each other, it developed online payment function in around 2014, which means the users can send and receive money to their friends or families while they chat. Except for very large sums, both WeChat and Alipay do not charge users for mobile transactions. Which is a really creative move for an app that designed to chat —-imagine you can send money to your friends on Snapchat.
While online payment has already changed people’s way of living in China, it is a growing trend globally as well; Alipay and WeChat Pay are now accepted in about 40 countries all over the world and it is open to foreign cards like visa right now. Overall, Chinese mobile payment systems are great innovations that incorporate technology into people’s daily life, I hope this technology can be more adopted internationally and create a truly cashless society global wise.