- 7-Eleven is the first convenience store chain in Canada to accept Chinese mobile payment systems Alipay and WeChat Pay, according to a company press release. Digital payments are available at 35 locations in Vancouver and Toronto with plans for an expansion in the months to come.
- 7-Eleven is working with Citcon, a payment platform that handles cross-border transactions for Alipay and WeChat, to provide the service to Chinese customers traveling in Canada. The Alipay and WeChat apps generate a unique QR code that people can scan at store checkouts to make a payment.
- Alipay and WeChat have a combined 93% share of China's digital payments market, according to Citcon. About 70% of Chinese consumers use mobile payments, the company reported.
7-Eleven's rollout of Alipay and WeChat payments in Canada will likely make the store chain even more convenient to Chinese tourists who visit the country for business or vacation. Chinese tourism to Canada rose 12% to 682,000 arrivals in 2017 from a year earlier, making China the biggest source of visitors from the Asia-Pacific region, according to government travel group Destination Canada. Chinese tourists spent an average of nearly $2,400 a trip to Canada and stayed for about 31 nights during peak summer travel months. By incorporating payment options that appeal to key tourist groups, 7-Eleven could compel those consumers to visit stores and drive sales.
The adoption of Alipay and WeChat payments is 7-Eleven's latest move in the mobile payment space. The chain this month began testing a mobile self-checkout feature that lets customers skip the checkout line and make purchases using the chain's app. In September, the company announced Apple Pay and Google Pay would be accepted at most of its nearly 8,000 U.S. stores.
Since hitting the U.S. last year, Alipay and WeChat have been adopted by brands and retailers looking to attract waves of Chinese tourists. Alipay has partnered with Yelp, Guess and Lacoste, while both payment platforms were integrated at the Mall of America in Minnesota.
While China has leapt ahead of the U.S. in the consumer adoption of mobile payments, Americans are beginning to catch on as the service becomes as convenient as using a credit or debit card. About one in three people will use some kind of smart payment in stores for holiday shopping this year, according to PwC's 2018 Holiday Outlook. Smartphones will be the preferred payment method for 24% of shoppers, six percentage points higher than last year, the report said. The mobile payments market is about to get more crowded as Amazon works to get more brick-and-mortar stores to accept its Amazon Pay digital wallet that's now mostly aimed at online transactions, The Wall Street Journal reported.