Asia United Bank (AUB), a publicly listed universal bank in the Philippines, is enabling more local merchants to accept cross-border digital payments from Hong Kong SAR, South Korea, and Malaysia via Alipay+ and AUB PayMate.

AUB said in a statement on Wednesday that with the market expansion, travellers can now pay using their home country’s e-wallets for purchases related to tourism, retail, food and beverage (F&B), entertainment, and attractions in the Philippines.

This includes e-wallets AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), Kakao Pay (South Korea), and Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), in addition to Alipay (Chinese mainland) which has been accepted by Filipino merchants since 2017.

At present, AUB PayMate has enabled Alipay+ acceptance in over 5,000 stores in Manila and Cebu, two of the most popular travel destinations in the Philippines.

AUB PayMate is AUB’s all-in-one digital payment acceptance product that enables all types of merchants to accept digital payments — whether local or foreign e-wallets, bank payments, and cards — from their customers.

SSP Mactan, a leading operator of F&B outlets in travel locations worldwide, is among the first in the Philippines that used Alipay+, including on all its stores in the Mactan-Cebu

From mid-September to mid-November, tourists arriving at Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), one of the country’s busiest travel hubs, will be welcomed by AUB, SSP Mactan Cebu, and Alipay+ and enjoy a more seamless payments experience and exclusive promotions at Alipay+-enabled merchants in the airport.

“We see a resurgence of inbound personal travels this year so our partnership with Alipay+, the first in the Philippine banking industry, will give a much-needed boost to merchants serving the tourism sector,” said Mags V. Surtida, senior vice president and Cards & Acquiring Group head of AUB.

He expects more foreign wallets to be added under this unified QR code.

According to the statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has been stepping up efforts to digitalize tourism services across the country to boost the sector.

Cited Department of Tourism (DOT) figures, it said that as of June 2023, 2.67 million tourists have visited the country, with South Koreans topping the list of international visitors and Malaysia ranking in the top 10.

“We are strengthening our partnership with AUB, our pioneering bank partner in the Philippines, to enhance the travel experience for tourists as they return to visit,” said Dr. Cherry Huang, General Manager of Alipay+ Offline Merchant Services, Ant Group.

According to him, digital payments have become more important than ever, particularly for international visitors who have become so used to using their e-wallets and bank apps for day-to-day purchases.

“Through our local partners, we aim to help more businesses integrate Alipay+, creating a positive digital ecosystem, driving more opportunities for partners, and merchants, while making it more convenient and seamless for travellers,” he said.

Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments, marketing and digitalization solutions operated by Ant Group, which enables local businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach more than 1.4 billion regional and global consumers, through one-time integration and simple technical adaptation.

Alipay+ enables digital payments from e-wallets, banks apps and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) apps to be accepted at millions of merchants globally within the Alipay+ ecosystem.

Other than the Philippines, it is also widely accepted in popular travel destinations including the Chinese mainland, Macao SAR, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea among others.

AUB is one of only two local commercial banks licensed at the height of the 1997 Asian financial crisis that has remained thriving, and expanded its operations.

It is known for its digital innovations, which started years prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic and has spurred many of its competitors to embark on digital transformation.

Among its digital innovations are e-wallet HelloMoney, pioneering payments via QR and the early adoption of the national QR PH code, and AUB PayMate, its all-in-one digital payment acceptance product.

Philippine digital payment startup SquidPay raises $4.16M in Series A round funding and credit line