Blackhawk Network and Alipay, a digital payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group, have partnered to expand Alipay’s mobile payment acceptance and engagement offerings to participating U.S. retailers. Leveraging Blackhawk’s technology, the partnership will present an opportunity for Blackhawk’s network of retail partners to elect to engage with visiting Chinese travelers. Blackhawk intends to roll out the service in select participating retailers beginning January 2018.
Alipay has more than 520 million active Chinese users. Through this partnership, Blackhawk’s retailers intend to connect with Alipay users traveling in the U.S. by accepting in-store payment via Alipay and are searchable to users on Alipay’s Discover platform. Retailers can increase brand visibility, drive store traffic and sales, reduce payment friction and gain valuable insight into their tourist consumers’ preferences.
“Until now, Chinese tourists lacked convenient access to information on what payment methods were accepted at U.S. retailers they wished to visit,” said Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk. “Alipay is ubiquitous in China, and represents an effective way for retailers to engage with Chinese travelers. We are excited to offer our retail partners a way to better connect with Chinese consumers by alleviating the major pain points of shopping, researching and paying while visiting and ultimately, providing Alipay users with an excellent shopping experience while they travel here in the U.S..”
Blackhawk’s solution leverages in-store QR codes to access Blackhawk’s proprietary platform which then enables instant issuance of a retailer’s branded stored-value egift. In addition to mobile and online payments and money transfers, Alipay users can get local recommendations, find promotions, book a hotel, buy movie tickets or even make doctors’ appointments directly within the app.
“Approximately 4 million Chinese tourists visit North America every year,” Alipay Americas president Souheil Badran said. “Many of those travelers are Alipay consumers already and are looking for the payment safety, convenience and efficiency they are accustomed to at home.
“We partnered with Blackhawk for its robust network of top-tier retailer partners, its innovative solutions and proprietary technology, and we are pleased to continue to provide Chinese travelers with a seamless shopping and payment experience in North America.”