WeChat Pay and Alipay: What You Need to Know

pay with wechat pay and alipay

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese tourists were coming to the EU in the tens of millions. While that number has dropped to just under 200 thousand in 2022, the numbers are picking back up. In fact, Ireland saw an 18.2% increase in Chinese tourist spending in early 2023 compared to the previous 3 months.

Given the revenue potential from this growing demographic of visitors to Ireland, it’s a good time to start integrating the Chinese digital wallets WeChat Pay and Alipay into your current payment services.

Start with NPI

NPI is proud to announce that we are the FIRST Guaranteed Irish merchant services provider to offer WeChat Pay and Alipay payment services to Irish business owners. If you are an NPI existing merchant, call your account manager to request these new payment methods be added to your account.

If you’re new to merchant services or contactless payment, or currently have service with another provider, call NPI today at 014475299 to make the switch and start accepting WeChat Pay and Alipay. Or, fill out the contact form and we’ll get back to you.


Digital and Contactless Payment in China

Like other developing nations, China experienced a technology boom that rapidly brought citizens into the digital age. In 2018, a staggering 98% of Chinese internet users were mobile, and this number continues to rise.

Given the prevalence of mobile users, it’s no surprise that digital wallets have become a cornerstone of payments in China, particularly in the thriving eCommerce industry. WeChat Pay and Alipay, the two major players in Chinese Fintech, facilitate not only online shopping but also utility payments, money transfers, and in-person purchases.

What is Alipay?

Alipay, established in 2004 by the Alibaba Group, initially served as an escrow service for eCommerce under the guidance of founder Jack Ma. This feature allowed customers to withhold payment if the received goods didn’t meet expectations, providing assurance against poor purchases.

Today, Alipay has transformed into a comprehensive digital wallet. Users can make online and offline purchases, transfer money, and pay utility bills. Additionally, Alipay offers services like insurance, wealth management, and loans. As of 2022, the app boasts 1.3 billion unique users and dominates over half of China’s mobile payment market.

How Does Alipay Work?

Alipay simplifies payments by connecting users’ bank accounts, credit cards, or preferred payment methods to their Alipay digital wallet. This enables secure and efficient online and offline transactions.

A key factor in Alipay’s success is its innovative use of QR codes. Merchants can display a unique QR code for customers to scan using the Alipay app, facilitating swift and secure payments. Additionally, Alipay payments can be accepted using a card reader or scanner, the same equipment used for card payments. This tech-savvy approach to cardless payment has contributed to Alipay’s popularity in China’s financial landscape.

Features of Alipay

While Alipay excels as a digital wallet for contactless payments, it offers a range of additional features directly within the app:

  • Automatic utility payments for water, gas, and electricity
  • Bike share rental with Hellobike
  • Phone and internet top-up services
  • Food delivery with Eleme
  • Cinema and event tickets
  • Environmental initiatives

Is Alipay Safe?

As demonstrated, Alipay not only facilitates efficient transactions but also prioritizes safety and security:

  • Multiple layers of protection for safeguarding data
  • To make a purchase, a user must use a password and verification code
  • All messages sent through the app are encrypted
  • Two-factor authentication requires a password and a biometric
  • An internal system checks user wallets every 30 seconds for suspicious activity

What is WeChat Pay?

WeChat originated as a messaging app in China in 2011 and quickly evolved into a comprehensive social media platform, boasting features for sharing thoughts, pictures, videos, and links. It rapidly gained popularity, becoming China’s most-used app with an estimated 1.2 billion users.

WeChat Payments debuted in 2013, initially used for utility bill payments and money transfers. With the official WeChat Pay, users can now shop online, order food, purchase mobile games, and more. In total, around 800 million active users worldwide are enjoying the benefits

How Does WeChat Pay Work?

WeChat Pay operates by connecting to a user’s bank account or credit/debit card. To initiate a payment, the user displays a QR code, which the merchant then scans to complete the transaction. This seamless process can be carried out online or offline using POS software or the card reader payment terminals already in use by merchants.

Features of WeChat Pay

Aside from standard QR codes, WeChat Pay provides additional features:

  • Quick pay option
  • Food delivery and in-restaurant ordering
  • Purchase cinema or event tickets
  • Pay utility bills
  • Purchase transportation tickets
  • Youku video services

Is WeChat Pay Safe?

WeChat Pay is a reliable and user-friendly solution for contactless payments, gaining popularity worldwide. Key features include:

  • Data encryption of communication and finances
  • Website phishing protection within the app
  • Extra verifications to ensure payment security
  • Payment limits in different vendor categories
  • Fully insured by PICC (People’s Insurance Company of China)

WeChat Pay vs Alipay

These digital wallets are both incredibly popular among Chinese citizens and share some characteristics. However, there are a few key differences.

Similarities Between WeChat Pay and Alipay

  • Founded and based in China
  • Have around a billion users
  • Allow online and in-store payments
  • Use QR codes to facilitate contactless payment
  • Allow bill-pay and money transfers
  • Are safe to use
  • Provide additional services like bike sharing and food delivery

Differences Between WeChat Pay and Alipay

  • WeChat is more often used for everyday transactions like buying groceries, sending money to friends, and paying bills.
  • Alipay is often used for eCommerce payments and more in-depth financial services like loans.

Despite these differences, both apps are used daily by millions of people around the world for making purchases.

Why Your Business Should Accept WeChat Pay and Alipay Contactless Payment

As a merchant, your goal is to grow your business and, consequently, increase your revenue. Adding WeChat Pay and Alipay to your payment methods could help you achieve those goals. Here are a few advantages to using WeChat Pay and Alipay to accept credit card payments, and why you should get going today.

Be One of the First

NPI is the first Irish merchant service provider to introduce WeChat Pay and Alipay as accepted payment methods. Adding these services through us means you’ll be one of the first businesses in Ireland to leverage the power of these popular apps and attract a new customer base.

Grow Your Customer Base

There are around 80,000 Chinese tourists visiting Ireland each year. What’s more, a staggering 93% of Chinese tourists are more willing to make purchases if shops accepted WeChat Pay or Alipay. As a result, this combination presents a winning formula for expanding your customer base.

Increase Revenue

Additionally, including these digital wallets in your accepted payment methods may increase your revenue. For instance, not only are Chinese tourists willing to make purchases where they can pay easily, but they’re also more willing to increase their spending. One study shows that 60% of European merchants who have integrated Alipay into their accepted payment methods experienced a growth in footfall and revenue.

It’s Easy to Use

WeChat Pay and Alipay are easy to integrate into your system and use on a daily basis. Transactions are straightforward and safe. Plus, adding WeChat Pay and Alipay to your existing payment solutions from NPI is completely free.

New Data

The more streams of data you have, the more thoroughly you can enhance your operations based on the business insights gleaned. Notably, you’ll learn more about customer spending habits and sales trends.

contactless payments with wechat pay and alipay cycle with NPI

How to Accept Contactless Payment from WeChat Pay and Alipay

To start accepting payments from WeChat Pay and Alipay, you have a couple of options.

The first is to set up a Chinese bank account and connect it to the app. While this step works for the local Chinese population and businesses, it’s not an ideal solution for businesses in Ireland.

The best way to start accepting WeChat Pay and Alipay payments is to connect with New Payment Innovation.

If you’re an existing merchant with NPI, all you have to do is call your account manager and request the addition of these payment methods. It doesn’t cost anything extra, and integration will be complete in 3-5 days once the paperwork has been completed.

If you’re a merchant using another payment service provider, give us a call to see what making the switch to NPI would look like for you and your business. When you start fresh with us, WeChat Pay and Alipay can be integrated right from the beginning, so you won’t lose any time attracting new customers willing to spend.

Marketing Your WeChat Pay and Alipay Integration

Now that you accept WeChat Pay and Alipay contactless payments, how do you let your customers know?

Marketing your new payment methods on your website is a good place to start. Adding icons on your homepage will let potential customers know that you’re able to take payments from WeChat Pay and Alipay.

For in-store options, look into simple flyers that advertise these new options.

When you add WeChat Pay and Alipay with NPI, we’ll jumpstart your marketing with free window stickers to catch passersby who prefer these methods.

Start Accepting WeChat Pay and Alipay with NPI

At NPI, we specialize in advanced card readers, EPOS systems, and more payment solutions for merchants in retail, hospitality, hair and beauty, and more.

If you’re already one of our star merchants, call your account manager today to request the free addition of WeChat Pay and Alipay to your payment methods.

And if you’re not with us (yet), give us a call at 01 447 5299 to find out what we can do for you, or fill out the free contact form and get started accepting contactless payment from the most widely used digital wallets in the world.


What is a digital wallet?

A digital wallet, also called an e-wallet or mobile wallet, is a virtual container on your device for safely storing and using digital money and assets.
Contactless payments utilize wireless technology for transactions, eliminating the need to physically touch cards or cash. They are fast, secure, and convenient, often employing NFC technology in cards or mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, WeChat Pay, and Alipay.
Contactless payments using NFC and digital wallets are gaining popularity, nearly replacing cash in China. Ireland might be heading in the same direction.
WeChat Pay and Alipay are digital wallets facilitating transactions through mobile devices, providing enhanced convenience and security compared to credit cards.

WeChat Pay and Alipay are Chinese digital payment platforms integrated into their ecosystems, primarily used in China but expanding internationally. Apple Pay and Google Pay, developed by global tech giants, focus on digital payments and are available in many countries with broader device compatibility. While all offer convenient digital payments, the key differences lie in their geographic origins, ecosystems, and device compatibility, catering to diverse user needs and preferences.

They employ robust encryption and authentication measures to protect user data and transactions.

Yes, users can link various bank accounts, credit cards, and other payment methods for flexibility.

Yes, they are versatile and support transactions in physical stores as well as online, offering users a seamless payment experience.

Utilize promotional materials provided by merchant service providers and highlight these payment options on your website and social media.

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