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Aleta Planet’s virtual card allows Singaporeans and visitors to pay like a local in China
2020-11-27


•    AP-1 virtual card allows users to pay, remit and collect payments through UnionPay, a global payment brand accepted at over 52 million merchants worldwide
•    Foreigners can soon pay for even small transactions in China’s cities and rural villages

Singaporeans and other foreign visitors to China can soon make cashless payments like a local while visiting the country without having to set up a bank account there.

Aleta Planet, a China-centric Singapore fintech, will officially launch its AP-1 virtual card on 1 December 2020 for QR code or contactless payments through UnionPay, a global payment brand accepted at over 52 million merchants worldwide.

Aleta Planet’s AP-1 is one of a few foreign virtual cards that can be widely used in China, for big and small transactions, in large cities and rural villages. AP-1 users can leverage on the ubiquitous network of UnionPay for various transactions, including buying food from roadside stores, taking taxis, shopping at malls, dining in restaurants and booking air tickets. In China, many merchants do not accept cash given the popularity and convenience of mobile payments via QR codes.

Aleta Planet said in addition to visitors to China, those with family and friends in China or shoppers who frequent Chinese e-commerce sites, will greatly benefit from using AP-1. This is particularly relevant as Chinese companies expand their regional presence through Singapore.

Ryan Gwee, Aleta Planet’s Chairman and Group CEO, said: “We are pleased to launch AP-1. We have progressed well with beta testing and are now excited to share the experience withmore early adopters and continue improving the card experience.

“China’s cashless society has often been a challenge for visitors who do not have a local bank account to support mobile payments. Aleta Planet’s AP-1 virtual card would solve these challenges for them.

“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.”

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 users will enjoy 18% off (capped at $8) at various local participating merchants including Old Chang Kee, Jumbo Seafood, HarriAnns, 227 Katong Durian, Haidilao, Itacho Sushi and Dunkin Donut.

Transactions made with the AP-1 virtual card also support charitable causes in Singapore. As AP-1 users spend or remit, Aleta Planet commits a part of the fees earned to the Aleta Planet Foundation, a charitable fund set up recently to support the elderly and children in Singapore.

Aleta Planet offers easy access and use of the AP-1 virtual card. Users can download the AP-1 app from Apple Store, Google Play or Huawei App Gallery, sign up for the virtual card within three minutes with MyInfo, then scan a retailer’s UnionPay QR Code or use UnionPay Mobile QuickPass at the point of sale.
The AP-1 virtual card, which retails at $99, is available for free to the first 10,000 customers who sign up.

Aleta Planet is the first issuer in Singapore to support Huawei Pay’s dual NFC and QR mobile payments function. This allows AP-1 users with Huawei or Honor phones to link their AP-1 card once, and access multiple mobile payment modes thereafter through a payment shortcut function on their phones.

Through the partnership, Huawei phone users can also make contactless cash withdrawals at ATMs throughout China using AP-1.

AP-1 is powered by proprietary technology developed by Aleta Planet, a Certified Principal Member of UnionPay International.

Huiming Cai, General Manager, UnionPay International Southeast Asia said: “We are absolutely delighted to support Aleta Planet on the launch of AP-1, a virtual card that will enable Singaporeans and foreigners to make digital payments at any of the 30 million merchants in 61 countries and regions around the world that accept UnionPay mobile payment solutions. AP-1 makes digital payments easy, seamless and convenient for the well-travelled Singapore residents.”

AP-1 users may top up their virtual card by linking it to a credit card or top up directly from a savings account via PayNow. Maybank Singapore is supporting AP-1 as the solution enabler for the PayNow function.

Helena Ooi, Head of Strategy at Maybank Singapore, 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. Topping up via PayNow is simple, fast and secure.

“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.

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