Singapore e-wallet, WeChat in talks for cross-border payments

Singapore e-wallet, WeChat in talks for cross-border payments

A man jogs past the skyline of Singapore on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)
A man jogs past the skyline of Singapore on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)

Singapore electronic payments provider Nets is in talks with Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay to allow users of its NetsPay digital wallet to make mobile payments in mainland China, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The partnership will allow NetsPay users to scan QR codes in stores accepting WeChat Pay on the mainland and settle purchases in Singapore dollars, said the people, who declined to be named as the information is private. Negotiations are still ongoing and a final deal has not yet been reached, they said.

Nets declined to comment, while Tencent did not immediately respond to queries.

If finalised, NetsPay will be the first third-party digital wallet to link with WeChat for cross-border payments in China.

This would be convenient for visitors to China because mobile payments have become so prevalent that the central bank had to issue a reminder to merchants not to refuse to accept cash.

Cross-border payments using WeChat Pay are mostly used by Chinese tourists paying for their overseas purchases at merchants accepting overseas WeChat Pay in tourist destinations such as Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States.

Tencent first experimented with mobile payments for inbound visitors to mainland China last month, when it announced that WeChat Pay HK users in Hong Kong will be able to pay for purchases at selected retail merchants on the mainland and settle purchases in Hong Kong dollars.

At present, China’s dominant mobile payment services like WeChat Pay and Ant Financial Services' Alipay are primarily focused on getting overseas merchants to accept their respective payment services as a payment method to serve outbound Chinese tourists.

Ant Financial is an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, the owner of the South China Morning Post.

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