It will be easier for Kiwi businesses to take payments via Chinese mobile payment giant Alipay under a deal signed with the Bank of New Zealand.

From July the BNZ plans to offer its merchant customers the ability to sign up for Alipay in the platform's first major deal with a New Zealand bank.

Those with a Verifone terminal will be able to take the payments, which up until now have required businesses to have a separate terminal.

Alipay offers consumers a digital wallet which includes a mobile app that allows people to conduct transactions directly from their mobile devices.


It has more than 600 million Chinese users and is said to have become more popular than cash in China.

Shelley Ruha, chief customer officer of BNZ Partners, BNZ's business banking arm, said the deal would allow more Kiwi businesses to tap into the growing Chinese tourism market.

"Managing foreign currency in a country whose language you may not be fluent in can be one of the least enjoyable aspects of travelling.

"We're delighted that we can help remove that hassle for Chinese visitors and make their Kiwi experience as easy and seamless as possible, by providing them with a range of options to make transactions, including those they choose to use at home."

China is New Zealand's second largest tourism market and visitors spent more than $1.5 billion here last year.

The number of Kiwi businesses which accept Alipay has grown from less than 300 merchants a year ago to more than 2500.

But George Lawson, Alipay country manager for Australia and New Zealand, predicted it would grow even faster with the BNZ deal.

"This growth will be turbocharged with BNZ being the first financial institution to partner with Alipay in New Zealand."

Lawson said until now merchants had to have a separate terminal to access Alipay but having a bank on board meant it could go through a normal terminal.

"This is the first big bank which has come on board in Australia and New Zealand."

Merchants who want to sign up for the service will initially need to have a Verifone payment terminal although BNZ said it would expand the service to other terminals over time.

It works through the terminal generating an Alipay QR (quick response) code which customers then scan via their mobile phone to pay.

Lawson said BNZ would charge merchants a fee for the service because it cost them to provide the service but it would be cheaper than the fee merchants paid when customers used credit cards.

He expected the service to be popular with food and beverage businesses, high-end retail and in certain locations such as Queenstown.

Shops at Auckland International Airport already offer the payment method and Christchurch Airport uses it to encourage local businesses to offer coupons through the digital wallet.

A BNZ spokeswoman said it has already received interest in the service from both small and large retailers.

She said the merchant service fee BNZ would charge for Alipay was comparable with fees charged by other Alipay providers in New Zealand.