How to use Alipay

Alipay: Everything about the online payment service

Paying contactless with Alipay is currently only possible at Frankfurt Airport in Germany. For a few months now, Chinese tourists have been able to buy branded goods from Germany and Europe with the Alipay barcode in the Tripidi store. However, since the app is only available in Mandarin so far, it is not a rollout for German users. Alipay only tries to intercept its customers with the payment method where they are going.

The introduction of Alipay is aimed primarily at Chinese tourists who already pay at home online (for example in the Alibaba online shop) and offline using barcodes. In the Tripidi business, sales have increased noticeably, with more than half of the purchases made by Chinese customers being paid for with Alipay. In Germany, Alipay is supported by the payment service provider Wirecard and Prestashop to enable Chinese travelers to have more points of acceptance. Alipay itself is backed by the Ant Financial Services Group, which operates independently from Alibaba, but is still part of the corporate system.

How does Alipay work on the internet?

The only possible way to use Alipay in German is in the Alibaba online shop. To do this, users have to register via the AliExpress page - similar to Amazon. You can do this either with your email address and a code that is sent, or via your Facebook profile. In the event that you come across a page in Mandarin, it is advisable to use the Google Chrome browser, as you can quickly translate the page here with a right-click. The main page of the online shop is also available in German and English. After that, users still have to register with Alipay and deposit either a Visa or MasterCard credit card. Purchases are then made in the same way as with PayPal. The credit card serves as a payment reference. The good thing about Alipay: You can even store prepaid credit cards.

How does contactless payment work with Alipay?

Paying without contact with Alipay is a bit more difficult. Even if the app login is offered in English, most of it is only displayed in Mandarin. Logging into an app where, for example, the general terms and conditions are written in a foreign language, is not recommended. German users should therefore rather wait for the official start of Alipay in Germany.

However, if you speak Mandarin anyway, you can use the extensive range of the wallet, especially in China. In China, Alipay is connected to a wide variety of services, such as taxi services, travel portals, restaurants and mobile phone providers, so that common everyday payments can be made from the app.

If you are now in a shop that accepts Alipay, you must log into the app in order to pay for your purchase. A barcode is generated automatically, which is scanned by the cashier. The amount to be paid then appears on the smartphone, which you have to confirm. The payment process only takes a few seconds. In the future, Alipay will also make NFC payments possible. These are more common in Europe and the US than barcode scanning.

What makes Alipay so special?

The answer is simple: Alipay offers a lot of added value compared to other contactless payment services. First and foremost, in China you hardly have to leave the Alipay app to pay your bills. Call and pay taxis, book public transport, transfer phone bills, pay at the kiosk or restaurant, but also shop in online shops - You can do all of this with Alipay.

These enormous acceptance and digital inclusion make the payment service practical and pleasant to use. In addition, there are even local offers and a link to utility companies (gas, electricity, municipal utilities, etc.). This means that users not only have no reason to leave the app, but are commercially guided by suggestions, reviews, savings tips and navigation. With such a strong usability, Alipay could endanger the actual favorites of contactless payment Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. It remains to be seen when the service will actually be rolled out in Europe - and not just for Chinese tourists.

Image source:

Urszula Hulboj