Alipay makes first U.S. move through First Data, Verifone terminals

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Chinese tourists in the U.S. will soon have the option to use Alipay at certain First Data or Verifone point-of-sale terminals.

Alipay's arrangement with First Data and its Clover Mini terminal, and Verifone's e355 mPOS device, marks the first time the Chinese payments scheme will be available in the U.S. Alipay currently has a 450 million user base in China.

Citing statistics from Ant Financial, Alipay says approximately 2 million of those users visit the U.S. every year, with spending projected to reach $40 billion by 2017. Ant Financial, an Alipay parent company of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., says shopping is the top tourist activity, with a Chinese visitor projected to spend between $500 and $3,500 per trip.

“Scale, security and speed are important to us as we look to enable our customers to walk into a store while traveling abroad and pay for purchases with the Alipay App — just like they do here in China,” Douglas Feagin, senior vice president of Ant Financial Services Group and head of Alipay International, said in an Oct. 25 press release.

In Europe, Alipay has signed similar deals with Ingenico, Wirecard and Zapper to put its mobile app into high street shopping terminals. Alipay also has partnerships with banks in Japan and Korea enabling Chinese tourists to shop at popular locations using the app and in India, Alipay reaches 150 million consumers in India through a partnership with Paytm in India.

Alongside the U.S., Verifone says it will also offer Alipay as an embedded payment option to users of its mPOS device in Europe.

Earlier this year, Ant Financial, which operates the Alipay online payment service, began funding rounds seeking up to $1.5 billion.

In the U.S., Alipay initially will be available at duty-free stores, and shopping and dining locations at major tourist destinations, Feagin said during a keynote address on Oct. 24 at Money20/20 in Las Vegas. "Our goal is to reach more than 1 million merchants outside the U.S. within the next several years," Feagin said.

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Mobile payments Payment processing Retailers Ant Financial