GCash now accepted in Japan stores via Alipay+

TOKYO, Japan — In an effort to help avid Filipino travellers experience seamless transactions in Japan,  GX-change Inc. (GXI), the operator of the widely-used electronic wallet (e-wallet) GCash, continues its partnership with Alipay+ to allow GCash users to pay for products in Japan using their home wallet. 

The launch of Alipay+ in Japan was helmed by its operator Ant International, led by its President Douglas Feagin, with the support of six e-wallets accepted in Japan via Alipay+. Among the e-wallets highlighted at the press conference in Tokyo on March 26 were GCash, represented by GXI President and CEO Oscar “Renren” Reyes, AlipayHK (Hong Kong), Kakao Pay (South Korea), MPay (Macao), Touch ‘N Go (TNG) (Malaysia), and True Money (Thailand). 

Reyes welcomed the opportunity opened for Filipinos to conveniently purchase goods in Japan without the hassle of converting cash and varying currency exchange rates. When using the “Pay Overseas with Alipay+” on GCash, users can simply present their individual barcodes and QR codes, which the merchants will scan. The payment is automatically accepted and converted from peso to yen with competitive exchange rates. 

“It's really kudos to the Alipay+ Japan team for having such a big merchant market base with over 1.5 million. Filipinos love buying things from 7-Eleven, Lawson, Don Quijote, and Daimaru as top destinations. Aside from Filipino tourists, Filipinos are everywhere, including Japan, they like to go around the world,” remarked Reyes in the press conference. 

Japan is the third biggest country destination for Filipinos, after the United States and Canada, but Japan is the number one market for Filipinos in terms of global payments or using their GCash wallets outside the Philippines, he shared. 

"Our long-standing partnership with Alipay+ has allowed us to be an indispensable companion for Filipino travelers in now 47 countries and territories around the world. We are glad to continue strengthening our collaboration with Alipay+ to ensure every Filipino has a seamless and secure cashless payment option when they travel abroad,” Reyes added. 

Overall, Alipay+ has 16 e-wallets and bank app partners that are accepted in Japan via Alipay+. They include Alipay (Chinese mainland), Naver Pay and Toss (South Korea), Singapore’s OCBC Digital, Changi Pay and EZ-Link; MyPB by Public Bank Berhad (Malaysia), HelloMoney (Philippines), Hipay (Mongolia), and Tinaba (Italy).

Some stores like flagship department store Daimaru in Tokyo, and merchants in the Asakusa area accept Alipay+. Majority  of partner merchants have signages displayed on stores and kiosks, indicating they accept this mobile payment. While others do not have signages, Filipino travellers can freely ask merchants if they accept Alipay+. 

GX-change, Inc. President and CEO Oscar “Renren” Reyes Showcasing the successful payment of products in Daimaru in Tokyo, Japan using GCash. (Photo from Ant International Media)

Elevating local tourism

Ant International's Feagin remarked that the launch of Alipay+ in Japan, with over 40 local acquiring partners and two million and counting partner merchants, is a way to help boost local tourism in Japan. 

“By working with these partners, Alipay+ provides global tourists with a seamless digital payment experience that is the same as in their own markets. Without any extra efforts, tourists can make purchases by simply scanning the QR code at merchants of all size, without worrying about foreign currency exchange or any language barriers,” he said. 

Reyes shared they are working on a similar method for GCash to accept payments from foreign travellers’ home wallets while they are visiting the Philippines in order to entice domestic tourism. 

“We are working on a solution that will allow tourists, when they come in, to be able to use GCash. That's something that we're working with the development and product team, including the Alipay+ team, on how to enable, as well as our other partners like Visa,” Reyes told Manila Bulletin at the sidelines of the press conference. 

He explained that, in the Philippines, e-wallet companies like GCash onboard foreigners or non-Filipinos on the platform if they live in the Philippines and they provide the right documentation. However, non-Filipino tourists are not yet allowed to use GCash as per the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). 

As for expanding their merchant base, he said that GXI is very proud of having the largest footprint of the merchant network in their e-wallet, amounting to around six million from both the formal and informal sector, including the micro-merchants. 

“For us, we're continuously increasing our number of merchants. I think we're also working on enabling foreign wallets – in the same way that when we go [in Japan], we can scan — that more and more QRs from GCash are available and they can scan as well,” Reyes added.