SINGAPORE – Aleta Planet recently launched a virtual card that allows foreigners and Singaporeans to make cashless payments while visiting China. This card that does not require the holder to set up a local bank account, is among the very few foreign virtual cards acceptable in China.
The card, named AP-1, was launched in December 18, 2020 for QR code or contactless payments through UnionPay, a global payment brand accepted by over 52 million merchants worldwide. The card can be used for various transactions, including buying food from roadside stores, taking taxis, shopping at malls, dining in restaurants and booking air tickets.
Many Chinese merchants prefer the convenience of mobile payments, often refusing to accept cash. “China’s cashless society has often been a challenge for visitors who do not have a local bank account to support mobile payments. AP-1 would solve these challenges for them,” said Ryan Gwee, Aleta Planet’s Chairman and Group CEO.
The card users can also benefit from the competitive and direct SGD-RMB currency exchange rates from UnionPay. It will be helpful while shopping from Chinese e-commerce websites. The AP-1 virtual card can also be used at retailers in Singapore that accept UnionPay QR code or Mobile Quickpass (a contactless NFC function).
“AP-1 is not just another e-wallet. It is uniquely placed to support foreigners because it taps into the payment network of UnionPay, a leading global payment brand. As borders gradually open, users will find AP-1 an easy, convenient and secure way of spending like a local in China. For now, they can still benefit from remitting funds to UnionPay cardholders within 60 seconds and enjoy exclusive UnionPay rewards and promotions in Singapore,” added Gwee.
AP-1 also has a partnership with Huawei Pay, the first of its kind in Singapore, which allows AP-1 users with Huawei or Honor phones to add their AP-1 card to Huawei Wallet. Through the partnership, Huawei phone users can also make contactless cash withdrawals at ATMs of supported banks in China using AP-1 in Huawei Pay, making Aleta Planet the first issuer in the country to support this function.
Transactions made with AP-1 also support charitable causes in Singapore. Moreover, the company has also committed to put a part of the fees earned through every transaction made by the card into the Aleta Planet Foundation, a charitable fund set up recently to support the elderly and children in Singapore.
The first 10,000 Singapore residents who sign up through MyInfo will enjoy a bunch of benefits including fee waivers.
Huiming Cai, General Manager, UnionPay International Southeast Asia said, “We are absolutely delighted to support Aleta Planet on the launch of AP-1. It makes digital payments easy, seamless and convenient for the well-travelled Singapore residents.”
Maybank Singapore is supporting AP-1 as the solution enabler for the PayNow function. Talking about this, Head of Strategy at Maybank Singapore, Helena Ooi said:, “We are excited to be collaborating with Aleta Planet to offer PayNow to AP-1 users, which is in line with Maybank’s mission to facilitate more contactless transactions for merchants. With a growing number of consumers looking to embrace contactless payments during this time, we see more opportunities to work closely with Aleta Planet, which has been very innovative in their payment technology solutions.”
Aleta Planet was started in 2014 to facilitate cross-border B2B digital payments through the UnionPay network. It has progressively expanded its offerings to include B2C services.
Earlier this year, it launched a remittance service on UnionPay’s MoneyExpress network to allow the estimated 380,000 Chinese working in Singapore to send money back to China faster, cheaper and safer. It also announced its partnership with one-stop lifestyle app Nestia to allow its over 600,000 registered members to make both offline and online payments using an UnionPay virtual card.