Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, the mobile payments market was experiencing unprecedented growth. While the pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the global economy, it has contributed to the growth of the digital payments market as restrictions on contact payments between consumers and businesses have led to an increase in contactless payments on merchandise products.
According to Payvision, the virus has increased the use of e-wallets by consumers in retail. Due to the fact that people are reluctant to use traditional credit cards and cash.
In China, digital wallets have been a part of people’s daily lives for years, with mobile payments accounting for more than 80% of all transactions. The country now wants to become the first in the world to move entirely to cashless payments. Today, at least one online payment company in China is looking to the future beyond COVID and is thinking about how its technology could be used even more widely after the virus disappears.
AliPay is China’s largest mobile payment platform with 1.3 billion users worldwide. The company has made every effort to ensure that its services are relevant in a pandemic. In the early days of the pandemic, the company that owned the platform, Ant Financial, was in a hurry to implement and launch software designed under the government’s Health Code to reduce the spread of the virus in China.
We mean a “traffic light” system that, using an e-wallet app algorithm, gives users a red, yellow, or green QR code. He did this based on the history of their recent travels and medical records. Those with a red QR code were warned to follow the quarantine for 14 days. Yellow meant that customers might be in danger of others and had to quarantine for 7-14 days, while those with a green QR code could move freely around the city. Although this “health code” is a short-term solution to the crisis, and the crisis can be completely eradicated with a vaccine, it seems that the use of the traffic light system in China is still ongoing.
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke at the G20 summit about future support for the QR Code system, which is used to facilitate international travel, and called on other countries to use the technology. While the world’s hopes are now based on the COVID-19 vaccine, it is not unreasonable to think that other countries should follow China in this particular technological approach.
Dozens of other countries have presented similar versions of the Chinese system. Since then, Google and Apple have partnered to develop a coronavirus contact search engine in which protecting the privacy and security of users is a higher priority. Of course, the Chinese system has not been left without criticism, both inside and outside the country. Critics have accused the Chinese government of using AliPay technology as a significant step in strengthening its citizen surveillance tendency. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has received positive feedback from the World Health Organization for its efforts to successfully curb the spread of the virus, of which AliPay technology is an integral part.
AliPay has also increased its role in a number of other areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the company quickly introduced “zero contact” loans to millions of merchants through Ant Financial online banking MYbank and partnerships with 100 Chinese banks. To encourage participation, interest rates for 360,000 offline micro-traders were lifted in Wuhan.
Digital Coupons was another innovative idea from AliPay, a digital analogy of paper discounts, gift coupons. On July 1, two weeks after their launch, more than 10 million small businesses participated in the program.
The platform also announced a three-year plan to help digitally transform 40 million merchants. AliPay has urged developers to create mini-applications that facilitate contactless services such as catering and medical advice.
It is noteworthy that AliPay’s efforts are aimed at fully “digitizing” Chinese society, which will lead to the need for the company’s services in everyday life, even after the pandemic coronavirus. “We strongly believe that after the COVID-19 explosion, service providers who can use digital technologies will become the most powerful,” said Simon Hume, CEO of Ant Financial.
We can learn good lessons by observing AliPay approaches, especially how the company has adapted to pandemic conditions. COVID-19 has boosted the global digital tax market, but more platforms in the United States and Europe need to harness that momentum and find ways to keep digital services relevant even after a pandemic. While the world will eventually return to normal, it is likely to change the way we buy products, travel and do business.