Aleta Planet’s virtual card AP-1 allows Singaporeans and foreigners to pay like a local in China

Dec 21, 2020

Singaporeans and foreigners can soon make cashless payments like a local when they are in China 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 18 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. Furthermore, AP-1 users can take advantage of significant savings through the competitive and direct SGD-RMB currency exchange rates from UnionPay.

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 Aleta Planet’s AP-1 virtual card. China’s cashless society has often been a challenge for visitors who do not have a local bank account to support mobile payments.  AP-1 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 in Singapore.” 

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).Starting from the end of December, AP-1 users will enjoy 18% off (capped at $8) at various local participating merchants including Five Star, Fragrance, Joo Chiat Popiah, Jumbo Seafood, 227 Katong Durian, Kim Choo Kueh Chang and Queen of Wok (Whampoa Keng Fish Head). AP-1 users can stay updated on these exciting offers through AP-1’s Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages. 

Transactions made with AP-1 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. 

From 18 December 2020, the first 10,000 Singapore residents who sign up through MyInfo will enjoy a waiver of the membership sign-up fee of $99 and three years of annual fees at $12 per year. The first 1,000 customers who top up the minimum deposit of $50 in their account will also receive an additional $10 rebate (within 5 working days). The first 1,000 remittance transactions by customers who make their first remittance will enjoy a remittance fee waiver capped at $10 (equivalent to a transaction amount of $500). For the first 10,000 customers who sign up with their passport, a membership sign-up fee of US$38 instead of the usual price of US$299 will be charged and three years of annual fees of US$36 a year will be waived. 

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 add their AP-1 card to Huawei Wallet, and access multiple mobile payment modes thereafter by tapping their phones, scanning or showing QR codes. A payment shortcut button on their phone can also be created from the Huawei Wallet app.

Through the partnership, Huawei phone users can also make contactless cash withdrawals at ATMs of supported banks in China using AP-1 in Huawei Pay, making Aleta Planet the first issuer in the country to support this function. 

Cardholders can also link their AP-1 card to their PayPal account for added convenience and functionality.

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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