Alipay users can now use the ewallet to pay Australian BPAY bills

Alison Banney 6 April 2018 NEWS

The industry-first bill-payment solution, Chinapayments.com.au, launches today by Novatti Group Limited.

Fintech payments startup Novatti has this morning launched Chinapayments.com.au, the first platform to enable Chinese consumers to pay local Australian BPAY bills via the hugely popular ewallet solution Alipay. The service will allow Chinese residents, migrants, students and tourists to pay their Australian bills, for example their rent, via BPAY using the money stored in their Alipay digital wallet instead of using a debit or credit card.

This industry-first new payment solution is significant given the increasing number of Chinese residents in Australia coupled with the popularity of Alipay among Chinese consumers. Alipay is one of the largest ewallet providers in China, accounting for 90% of the market along with WeChat. While these ewallets may not be so well-known in Australia, the Chinese community heavily relies on both Alipay and WeChat for day-to-day in-store transactions, online purchases, electronic funds transfers and bill payments.

CEO of Novatti Group Peter Cook said the new platform Chinapayments.com.au will provide a welcome bill-payment solution to the increasing number of Chinese residents in Australia, enabling them to simply use an ewallet they already rely on for day-to-day transactions. “As a company at the forefront of innovation for new payments solutions for the global market we are delighted to announce the launch of the platform, another plank in our strategy to support the booming China Australia market. We believe that this new platform will better benefit Chinese residents in Australia, which is a unique market full of opportunities," said Cook.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics as of February 2018 there were 526,040 Chinese-born Australian residents, which is up from 387,420 compared to the previous five years. And according to the 2016 Census, more than 1.2 million Australian residents are of Chinese ancestry. It's also estimated that around 30% of all international students enrolled in Australia in March 2018 were from China.

For new migrants or Chinese students arriving in Australia to study, accessing a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card is tricky as most financial institutions require customers to have a valid Australian residential address and several forms of ID with that address, which can take months to organise. This is what makes Alipay such an attractive solution.

"If you're a Chinese student who has first arrived in Australia and moved into a share house, you may not have an Australian bank account or Australian credit card. And if you don't have an Australian credit card you certainly won't have a Chinese one that works here, either. Then you receive your energy bill, how do you pay? You can't use Internet banking because you don't have an Australian bank account, and you probably can't pay over the phone because your credit card likely doesn't work here. So you might end up at the Post Office, or not paying the bill at all. This new platform will allow people to use their Chinese denominated money to pay these bills they're incurring in Australia," said Cook.

Chinapayments.com.au will apply a transaction fee for each payment made via the platform, with Cook saying this fee will "initially be around the 1% mark." Plus, because the money stored in the ewallet will be in Chinese Yuan, there will also be a foreign exchange rate margin applied to convert the funds into Australian dollars, which is set by Alipay. While the initial platform will only support BPAY bill payments made via Alipay, Novatti said the platform is looking to extend the payment service to both WeChat and China UnionPay as well in the near future.

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