Heathrow World Duty Free offers customers WeChat Pay option

World Duty Free at London Heathrow Airport is now allowing Chinese travellers to pay for goods using WeChat Pay.

The new transaction method has been introduced thanks to a partnership between the retailer and payment technology provider, SafeCharge.

WeChat Pay is a widely adopted e-wallet payment solution in China, and with VisitBritain statistics showing that over 330,000 Chinese travellers visited the UK during last year alone, the move opens up revenue-making opportunities from future visitors looking to pay for items via their preferred platform.

World Duty Free uses SafeCharge’s new mobile point of sale (PoS) application, a solution merchants can deploy to allow them to accept QR code-based payment methods such as WeChat Pay.

Commenting on the introduction of the new payment system, Tony O’Donnell, UK financial controller at World Duty Free, said: “Since the initial roll-out in Terminal 4 we have seen a steady increase in transaction volumes and are currently in the process of extending this capability across the other Heathrow terminals.”

WeChat also offers online marketing opportunities aimed at increasing interaction with users, including coupons and cash-back promotions. These are some of the reasons why Chinese customers are often keen to seek out shops accepting the payment method, SafeCharge said in a statement.

SafeCharge’s PoS app can be downloaded from app stores and is available for both iOS and Android devices. It allows merchants to generate a QR code either on the seller’s side, or by scanning one on the customer’s own device.

David Avgi, CEO of SafeCharge, remarked: “Chinese shoppers are among the most tech savvy in the world, and take the ability to go cashless and make mobile payments at home for granted.

“With Chinese tourism growing at a 20% rate every year, it has become vital for merchants to adapt to offer these valued customers the service and experience that they expect – and that means accepting Chinese alternative payment methods whether online, in their shops, pop-up stores or outdoor markets in order to remain competitive.”

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