China Mobile Payments: Apple + Union Pay = Convenience and Security

                                      by David Parmer

Mobile and contactless payments for Apple users in China just got a lot simpler thanks to a 2016  agreement between Apple Pay and Union Pay. Now these Apples users can add Union Pay cards to their Apple Pay on iPhones, iWatch and iPad. The keywords are secure and convenient. In combination, Apple Pay and Union Pay’s Quick Pass provide payment tokenization for secure transactions. Contactless readers add convenience by letting the user simply put the Apple device near the reader or click the iWatch to make the transaction. Union Pay operates the country’s clearing and settlement system and issues cards. Union Card has issued 5 billion cards to date and the card is accepted in more than 150 countries.

While the tie-up is excellent news for Apple, it does not have an exclusive in the China market. Union Pay recently announced that it had also made a tie-up with Samsung for mobile payments. Some observers say Apple has nothing to worry about since Samsung seems to be in decline in the China market.

Apple does have to worry about local big-boy Alibaba, whose Alipay service now holds a huge chunk of the mobile payments market. Local player Tencent is also in the game through its We Chat app.

This year might be a very big year for Apple in China. It will be interesting to see, in say 12 months, how the mobile payments pie is sliced up.

Photo: Shanghai Apple Store, DP.