No Cash? No Problem: Ten Chinese Cities Open for Mobile Payment via Electronic Metro Cards

摘要: Farewell, metro cards. Now we have electronic ones.

(Chinese Version)

While the China is rapidly entering the no-cash era, it’s quite common to see people asking strangers if they could lend them some change (for example, five yuan) and pay them back via WeChat Wallet or Alipay at subway stations.

While mobile payment brings huge convenience to the public, there’s still deficiency in some public infrastructure, which inevitably leads to such awkward situations. While an ordinary Chinese can almost pay any bills through smartphones (buying food and drinks, paying taxi bills and paying bills via online ride-sharing apps), they just won’t work at subway and bus stations. However, it seems that smartphone makers have already noticed the inconvenience and been negotiating with metro companies and “All-in-One” card (or metro card) service providers over a possible solution.

On August 14th, Beijing Metro teamed up with its “All-in-One” service providers and called on everybody to try its new smartphone-based all-in-one card service. Besides posting ads at various stations to promote the new service, Beijing Metro even set up a limited period during which users can sign up for free (otherwise users will have to pay a service fee of 29 yuan).

Now that relevant infrastructures have already been upgraded, it’s what smartphone brands that will determine if you could enjoy the convenience.

Take Mi 6 for an example, Xiaomi users already can sign up “Beijing All-in-One Smartphone-Based Card” for free through Mi Wallet APP, pay subway bills and even recharge their accounts through smartphones.

Besides Beijing, Xiaomi smartphone users in ten regions (including Jilin, Guangdong, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan) can also enjoy the new service.

At present, six Xiaomi smartphone models (including Mi 6, Xiaomi Mix, Mi Note 2, Mi 5S, Mi 5S Plus and Mi 5) support NFC service and enable “Smartphone-Based All-in-One Card” service, according to Xiaomi. For sure, more smartphone models will be added to the list next.

  • For users of NFC safety chip-embedded smartphones, such as Mi6, Huawei P10, Samsung S8 Plus, etc., they could sign up simply by downloading Beijing All-in-One APP (or the specific APP designated by different smartphone makers);
  • For users of other NFC smartphones, they will have to go to mobile carriers’ service hall, exchange their original SIM cards into NFC-SIM cards. According to the WeChat Official Account of Beijing Municipal Transportation All-in-One Card, nearly 160 smartphone models from six smartphone makers have already supported NFC and smartphone-based all-in-one card service.

As smartphone makers are getting increasingly down-to-earth, mobile payment will be gradually enabled in such high-frequency scenarios in even more cities. Only when technological advance and public infrastructure are integrated can people’s computing experience be further improved.

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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Zhu Taowei. Please note the source and hyperlink when reproduce.]       

Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.  

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