30 Days with Alipay & Apple Pay (wallet)


My #1 realization is I am cheap.

I have used both of them in the last 30 days. There wasn’t any specific rule so to speak, but I did try to use Alipay as my default in the beginning, because I have been an Apple Pay user for a while. My most common use cases for both, are to pay and to track loyalty points.

First off, Alipay:

  • 💆🏻‍♀️ Really nice that it connects with some of the major loyalty programs, such as MoneyBack.
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ Promotions Promotions Promotions! Collect 3 stamps and get a HK$ 5 coupon! Connect this and get HK$$$! Pay a friend and get HK$88! It’s non stop. It’s so primal and straight forward. “ Use me and I pay you, sucker”. It’s almost irresistible.
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ Also coupons from various restaurants and shops pushed to you in the app.

Translation: Do this, get $$$. Do that, also get $$$. Use me, get $$$$$$$$$!
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ It can do a lot of stuff. Pay your friends, pay some bills, bet on horses …

Left to right top to bottom: Scan — Pay — Receive — rewards — top up — P2P (BIG REWARDS!) — Taobao — promotions from shops — MoneyBack — Pay bills — Pay telecom bills — promotions from restaurants — insurance — Hong Kong Horse Racing — Customer service
  • 💩It needs an internet connection to pay, or to connect to some of the loyalty cards. There has been quite a few times where I was in a place where the connection was too weak. I stood at the line for way too long (maybe 5 seconds before I realized what was happening) and the super patient HK people already cursed me to hell 😤😡🤷🏻‍♂️.

Now loading … Alipay style.
  • 💩Using is still a bit clumbersome. I can use 3D Touch on my iPhone to pay in 1 touch (versus 1 touch to open the app + 1 touch to pull up the QR code), and then scan and wait.

3D Touching …
  • 😰 Frankly, Alipay is so aggressive in pushing me stuff I am absolutely certain they are tracking everything I do on that app (or on my phone …).

Now, Apple Pay (Actually, Apple Wallet)

  • 💆🏻‍♀️ It is really simple to use. Put it against the terminal, authorize it (with face or fingerprint), done. Or double click the button(s), pull up your loyalty card, have it scanned. So simple.
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ Add your own loyalty cards (as long as they use barcode/QR code). As I was fasincated by how Alipay was able to connect to my MoneyBack loyalty card, I dove deeper into Apply Pay and see what could be done. I actually could do the same. I use this app called Pass2U. What it does is you scan or enter the barcode/QR code of your physical or in-App loyalty card, and it will create a card for your wallet. All you then need to do, is open up your wallet (same way to pull up Apple Pay), and scan the card!

Loyalty Card in Wallet, using Pass2U
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ Some shops have loyalty cards that support Apple Wallet. No more paper cards and purple chops! For example, the restaurant Maison Libanaise has this card in your wallet. All you need to do is pull it up (again, same way you pull up Apple Pay), they scan it, and you get stamps. This was made possible by Loopy Loyalty.
  • 💩 However, apparently, it has some system issues, especially with OS (android and iOS) upgrades. The staff there shared that they had to ensure quite a bit of unhappy customers 😤😡🤷🏻‍♂️ because it fails quite often (and technically challenging enough to feel it’s random).

Loyalty Card in Apple Wallet. I need 4 more paperless stamps!
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ Apple Wallet is also great with electronic boarding passes, tickets, etc. The on screen notification it creates on the day of your travel makes it easy to use. Just open the notification, and scan. No need to open the app/click the boarding pass/fumble your phone/getting stares of disapproval from scary immigration officers 😤😡🤷🏻‍♂️.
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ It works with or without an internet connection. The fact that I didn’t have to think about internet connection at all, or that I didn’t have to be “surprised” by a weak-ass internet connection (and endured 😤😡🤷🏻‍♂️), was actually more important than I realized.
  • 💆🏻‍♀️ Knowing how secured it is, and how it keeps everything private, although not something I think about every day, is reassuring.
  • 💩 It somehow fails more often than I like, especially at Marks and Spencer, for some reason. The message “Terminal Terminated” or something was another trigger for instant public crucification 😤😡🤷🏻‍♂️.
  • 💩 Peer to peer payments is still not available in HK yet.
  • 💩 Very few shops/brands use it for loyalty campaigns.
  • 💩 Promotions are only banks specific, and I often don’t know about them. There is no in-app reminders for any promotions.

In summary, I find myself using Alipay whenever possible, because I want the $$$. However, I get frustrated when it has to have an internet connection. It was surprisingly more common than I expected that I didn’t have a strong enough connection to get it to work, especially when I am inside a large supermarket. I also start to worry about how much I am giving to Alipay … the prompts and pushes are starting to get a tad too freaky and uncomfortable. I am also starting to feel guilty/gullible, because I know I am using it because I am giving in to my cheapness ($$$). Argh.

I also gained new respect for the Apple Wallet. I can see the potential of it. The fact that it works offline, that it is so well integrated with iOS, that it is secured and private, and that it can support loyalty programs, gives me hope.

But yea, this hope also requires tremendous patience …

(Love to hear your comments and … claps 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 too. I said I am cheap, didn’t I?)

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