Apple Pay Now Available in China Through Partnership With UnionPay

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It's now February 18 in China, and as was rumored earlier this week, the country is now the fifth location where Apple Pay is officially available. Implemented through a partnership with UnionPay, China's state-run interbank network, Apple Pay in China can be used by iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch owners with an eligible China UnionPay debit or credit card.

"We think China could be our largest Apple Pay market," Apple's vice president of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, told Reuters. China is Apple's second largest market when it comes to revenue after the americas and it has become an increasingly important area of growth for Apple. The company has inked deals with 19 of the biggest lenders in China, which will see 80 percent of credit and debit cards in China eligible for use with Apple Pay.

In retail locations in China, Apple Pay is available on the iPhone 6 and later and the Apple Watch at any location that has a UnionPay-compatible point-of-sale system. Within apps, Apple Pay purchases can be made using an iPhone or iPad that supports NFC, which includes the iPhone 6 and later and the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro.

Apple initially announced its intention to launch Apple Pay in China in December of 2015, with plans to make the service available in early 2016 following the "relevant tests and certification" required by Chinese regulators. The first signs of Apple Pay in the country came in January, with several UnionPay users demonstrating Apple Pay in stores and in apps on YouTube, and the official launch followed today.

Apple Pay is also available in the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia, with plans to extend it to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain later in the year. In Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain, Apple Pay is available or being made available through a partnership with American Express.

Apple Pay availability has grown steadily in the United States since its October 2014 debut, and the service is now accepted at more than two million retail locations across the country.

Article Link: Apple Pay Now Available in China Through Partnership With UnionPay
 

alphaod

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It's been working unofficially with terminals that take NFC (and foreign networks), but it's good to see UnionPay support finally. I wonder if I will be able to use this on any terminal that takes Discover in the US (like it does currently with the physical cards).
 

goshya

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Jan 30, 2008
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Question is, will people use Apple Pay over WeChat and Alipay?
Exactly. WeChat and Alipay are quite innovative and widely used. The Technology behind Apple Pay is, believe it or not, already outdated and Apple Pay is unlikely to be accepted when other popular payment systems are already in place in China. I even found it inconvenient to use Apple Pay in America but that was eight months ago and might have improved. Anyway: WeChat is a great app. Apple should just copy the whole thing and make it the new messages app.
 
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zgm77

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Feb 9, 2016
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I've tried to add my card just now and it seems like Bank Of Communication is not yet supported. Anyone has succefully added a card yet? I wonder what the activation procedure is..
 

Keirasplace

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Exactly. WeChat and Alipay are quite innovative and widely used. The Technology behind Apple Pay is, believe it or not, already outdated and Apple Pay is unlikely to be accepted when other popular payment systems are already in place in China. I even found it inconvenient to use Apple Pay in America but that was eight months ago and might have improved. Anyway: WeChat is a great app. Apple should just copy the whole thing and make it the new messages app.
Wow, someone who has no clue : outdated? Are you for real.
At least find a reasonable argument like they have the widest user base or something like that.
The tech angle as an advantage is totally laughable.
 

goshya

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Wow, someone who has no clue : outdated? Are you for real.
At least find a reasonable argument like they have the widest user base or something like that.
The tech angle as an advantage is totally laughable.
Let me ask you a simple question: Have you used WeChat Pay or AliPay before? Do you live in China and have compared the convenience of using the local wireless payment systems compared to Apple Pay?
 
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alphaod

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Alipay and TenPay is quite widespread... I think the MCX thing going on here was trying to emulate some of that success since it's a lot of QR codes and loading debit cards.

But I have to say what Apple has is trust. Chinese people trust Apple to make quality stuff. So that should help with adoptions.

BTW I was able to add my ICBC debit card:
 
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zgm77

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Feb 9, 2016
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Exactly. WeChat and Alipay are quite innovative and widely used. The Technology behind Apple Pay is, believe it or not, already outdated and Apple Pay is unlikely to be accepted when other popular payment systems are already in place in China. I even found it inconvenient to use Apple Pay in America but that was eight months ago and might have improved. Anyway: WeChat is a great app. Apple should just copy the whole thing and make it the new messages app.
I'm sorry but I don't agree. Apple pay is way safer, uses NFC, user friendly, you can use your watch.. it won't be too far when we will be able to use our Apple Watch for transit in Shanghai for subway, bus and taxies and finally trow away that obsolete transit card. I hate WeChat, is buggy, it uses bar codes for member cards.. this is way more obsolete if you ask me. Here people will love to use Apple Pay, you will see.
[doublepost=1455758273][/doublepost]
Alipay and TenPay is quite widespread... I think the MCX thing going on here was trying to emulate some of that success since it's a lot of QR codes and loading debit cards.

But I have to say what Apple has is trust. Chinese people trust Apple to make quality stuff. So that should help with adoptions.

BTW I was able to add my ICBC debit card:
That is nice, I guess I will have to wait for my bank to jump on board...
 
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TheJae

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Question is, will people use Apple Pay over WeChat and Alipay?
Good question. The e-payment and micro payment solutions in China is light years ahead of US techs. Apple Pay lacks versatility of WeChat and Apple Pay, until Apple opens up its payment processing for all kind of merchandise then only it will see any growth.

When i say all kind of merchandise, i mean all kind. You could live in Beijing for a year and never bring your wallet out.
 
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StevenPG

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I still have a hard time using it in America due to cashiers not knowing what they accept and lack of "Apple Pay" stickers near the register. If I have to google if a company accepts it or not while I am in line I might as well get my debit card.
 

nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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Alipay and TenPay is quite widespread... I think the MCX thing going on here was trying to emulate some of that success since it's a lot of QR codes and loading debit cards.

But I have to say what Apple has is trust. Chinese people trust Apple to make quality stuff. So that should help with adoptions.

BTW I was able to add my ICBC debit card:
I've been unable to add any of my cards this morning, keeps beach balling and telling me the server is busy.

I disagree on one thing though. It is QR codes that are the older and less advanced technology. It's fine, they have to be to work with the 1 billion older smartphones out there, but they do have disadvantages over nfc. Security is one, hence why alipay have to offer their own guarantees and insurance against you being fleeced (although that may be the trust issue you mention. It's easy to offer guarantees if you're confident the product is secure). The more important negatives for alipay and WeChat are that you need to be online to get the qr code (connected to data network) and it can be slow to confirm at times; it's not just tap and go, it's often hand to merchant scan and wait 15 seconds. Cash could be faster at times. Apple Pay doesn't need the Internet to handshake (although I think by the nature of UnionPay, the terminal will, so it's not as clear cut as that) which opens it up to potentially being used in transit systems if they convert to contactless like London alongside or phasing out their own metro cards (I'd abandon my 5% discount on Shenzhen metro in a heartbeat if I could just use Apple Pay instead and not bother about the card or topping it up every month).

Where Apple Pay will struggle you rightly mention is ubiquity. While the majority of card readers are in fact seemingly quick pass enabled, it's not in the mindset of shopkeepers to use it and the reader is rarely convenient - only Burger King and McDonald's seem to have customer facing readers. It won't take off overnight. In contrast WeChat said they're accepted in 100,000 shops and 80,000 restaurants; what they don't mention is the legions of individual shopkeepers who will probably accept WeChat payments if asked on their personal accounts, because why not? The money's going to them one way or another anyway; but there's no Apple Pay equivalent (yet). Similarly, online shopping = taobao and tmall = alipay; I doubt they'll gain much traction there, especially as the owners of WeChat and taobao buy up everything else, and therefore their own payment solutions can be integrated perfectly, for example in taxi hailing apps.
 

JonneyGee

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I'm glad to see Apple adding more countries and banks in the mix, but I'd really like to see the focus aimed at retailers. Here in the US, we've had Apple Pay for awhile now, but most of the places I shop most frequently don't take it.
 

zgm77

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Feb 9, 2016
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Portland, OR
I'm glad to see Apple adding more countries and banks in the mix, but I'd really like to see the focus aimed at retailers. Here in the US, we've had Apple Pay for awhile now, but most of the places I shop most frequently don't take it.
I know, same thing for me in Portland, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Target... they don't accept it yet... while the vendin machine in my company cafeteria works... funny.
 

unclemax

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Sep 25, 2015
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I've tried to add my card just now and it seems like Bank Of Communication is not yet supported. Anyone has succefully added a card yet? I wonder what the activation procedure is..
Just added my ICBC card, the activation procedure was like:

Enter name + card number

Chose to either 1) call the bank or 2) receive a confirmation code by text (must have a mobile number registered with that account)

Enter the confirmation code (had to repeat this step several times)

Set!

Let me ask you a simple question: Have you used WeChat Pay or AliPay before? Do you live in China and have compared the convenience of using the local wireless payment systems compared to Apple Pay?
I’m still a newbie to China but I get the impression that WeChat Pay is used a lot less than Alipay. The only two uses I had for it so far to top up my mobile and pay my share of the bill to a random dude from the expat get-together. My colleague paid my apartment deposit and when I wanted to pay him back he would prefer cash or Alipay over WeChat Pay. Also might be my absent-mindedness, but I haven’t seen Alipay logos at big stores like Sam’s Club, Starbucks etc. However in person–to–person payments Alipay is very big, I was able to pay at the fruit stall, various small restaurants on campus, food delivery guy, cable company guy…
 

nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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Just added my ICBC card, the activation procedure was like:

Enter name + card number

Chose to either 1) call the bank or 2) receive a confirmation code by text (must have a mobile number registered with that account)

Enter the confirmation code (had to repeat this step several times)

Set!
the process for adding my icbc credit card has been this:

enter name and card number

get to next screen the enter expiry date and security number

be told the information is incorrect

enter name in a different format

repeat 40 bajillion times.
 

zgm77

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2016
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Portland, OR
the process for adding my icbc credit card has been this:

enter name and card number

get to next screen the enter expiry date and security number

be told the information is incorrect

enter name in a different format

repeat 40 bajillion times.
Yeah that is my worries haveing already experience with other kind of services here in China... well at least I don't have to go to the bank... I hate it...
 

nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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Yeah that is my worries haveing already experience with other kind of services here in China... well at least I don't have to go to the bank... I hate it...
i've still not had any success with ICBC debit or credit cards. or Construction bank.

bank of china worked ok though. so i'm up and running at least.
 

zgm77

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2016
9
4
0
Portland, OR
i've still not had any success with ICBC debit or credit cards. or Construction bank.

bank of china worked ok though. so i'm up and running at least.
I'm wondering if it will work right away for transit. This morning out of couriosity I've placed my iPhone near the NFC sensor at the subway gate in Shanghai and my US card popped up from the blank screen, obviously I did not place my finger on the home button, but who knows if with an Union Pay card would work...
 

nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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I'm wondering if it will work right away for transit. This morning out of couriosity I've placed my iPhone near the NFC sensor at the subway gate in Shanghai and my US card popped up from the blank screen, obviously I did not place my finger on the home button, but who knows if with an Union Pay card would work...
no.

but hopefully cities get in on the act rather quickly and transition to regular contactless payments over specific metro cards.
 

emm386

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Feb 5, 2016
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Usually, when I see chinese letters on my screen, paired with a credit card form, I get freaked out... But this seems legit, this time.
 

BvizioN

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Mar 16, 2012
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I still have a hard time using it in America due to cashiers not knowing what they accept and lack of "Apple Pay" stickers near the register. If I have to google if a company accepts it or not while I am in line I might as well get my debit card.
Not sure why that troubles you so much. I personally don't care if the cashier knows or not. Forget about the Apple Pay stickers.

I use my Apple Watch or iPhone to pay anywhere I see the image below. And you know what? It has not failed me, not even once. I have come across staff who were shocked and could not believe a payment just went through by using a watch. So, if you try to use the Apple Pay anywhere you see contactless payment without worrying about the rest, you may have a better experience.
 

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nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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Not sure why that troubles you so much. I personally don't care if the cashier knows or not. Forget about the Apple Pay stickers.

I use my Apple Watch or iPhone to pay anywhere I see the image below. And you know what? It has not failed me, not even once. I have come across staff who were shocked and could not believe a payment just went through by using a watch. So, if you try to use the Apple Pay anywhere you see contactless payment without worrying about the rest, you may have a better experience.
uk is not USA; our implementation piggy backs upon the existing contactless infrastructure that came long before it (hence why you can use it anywhere the contactless symbol is present) but that isn't true of america. hope that clears up why it troubles him so much.
 

BvizioN

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Mar 16, 2012
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uk is not USA; our implementation piggy backs upon the existing contactless infrastructure that came long before it (hence why you can use it anywhere the contactless symbol is present) but that isn't true of america. hope that clears up why it troubles him so much.
I understand now, thanks for clearing that up. Would have thought the infrastructure was the same.