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Barclaycard Tests Alipay in Eight U.K. Retail Stores

Barclaycard is launching a pilot that enables merchants in the U.K. to accept in-store Alipay transactions, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.

The pilot will begin on Aug. 14, 2017, in eight retail stores across the U.K., with Barclaycard providing the POS solution for payments via Alipay.

The service will be available in GBP as well as CNY (“offered at a competitive exchange rate,” Barclaycard says).

Barclaycard anticipates positive results from the pilot, noting that many Chinese expats and students reside in the U.K., and Chinese tourists are expected to spend more than £1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in the U.K. this year.

“The U.K. has always been one of the most welcoming destinations for Chinese tourists for both sightseeing and shopping,” observes Rita Liu, head of Alipay EMEA.

A broader rollout across more U.K. stores is anticipated in the coming months, with the pilot extending until 2018.

“Merchants will also have the opportunity to raise their profile through Alipay’s lifestyle app, showcasing their brand through a digital shop-front and engaging customers with special deals and offers,” Barclaycard adds.

Furthermore, push location-based notifications can be sent to users upon their arrival in the U.K. to promote nearby retailers and services. Once they leave, merchants can use the lifestyle account feature to stay in touch.

Paulette Rowe, MD of Barclaycard Payment Solutions, hopes the Alipay initiative will “drive not only higher conversion rates for businesses but also greater levels of customer satisfaction.”

Barclays/Barclaycard first announced its partnership with Alipay in December last year. Alipay also is working with Wirecard and Payworks in Europe. The Chinese subsidiary of Ant Financial also has inked deals in the U.S., most recently with First Data, and aims to have 60 percent of its transaction volume coming from outside China within the next 10 years.

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