NCHL and Ant International Boost Nepal's Tourist Payments


Nepal Clearing House Limited (NCHL), a publicly traded company overseen by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), in collaboration with Ant International, a leading digital payment and financial technology provider committed to fostering an inclusive and sustainable global commerce environment, have joined forces to offer seamless digital payment solutions to travelers visiting Nepal, encompassing over 800,000 merchants nationwide.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked by both parties, in the forthcoming months, patrons of over 10 prominent mobile wallets and banking applications—recognized as payment affiliates of Alipay+, the global mobile payment and digitalization platform managed by Ant International will gain access to cashless transactions while visiting Nepal. This convenience will be facilitated through the scanning of NEPALPAY QR codes or other compatible QR codes.

Implemented by NCHL in alignment with the NepalQR standards set forth by Nepal Rastra Bank and integrated into the National Payment Switch, NEPALPAY QR functions as a standalone QR scheme. It facilitates interoperability both at the merchant and network levels, ensuring seamless transactions.

Neelesh Man Singh Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer, NCHL, said: “Nepal’s tourism sector has started to pick up in the recent months as a preferred travel destination for various tourists, and hence a need of seamless digital payments. Digitizing payments in Nepal and connecting its retail payment systems globally has been one of the key focus for NCHL. This partnership between NCHL and Alipay+ for enabling merchant payments is expected to be a major milestone to ease the cross-border transactions”.

The collaboration comes as the popularity of Nepal grows as a travel destination. According to the Nepal Tourism Board, a total of 416,069 tourists visited Nepal from January to April 2024, averaging over 100,000 arrivals per month. With tourists from countries and regions of Alipay+ payment partners amongst the top in visitor arrivals to Nepal, they will be able to pay even more widely at merchants accepting NEPALPAY QR or equivalent interoperable QR, which includes micro and small businesses, encouraging even more localized experiences.

Edward Yue, General Manager of Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Ant International, said, “Through the support of the Nepal Rastra Bank and Nepal Clearing House Ltd., Alipay+ is enhancing cross-border payments in Nepal, digitalizing the travel and payments experience, not just for consumers, but also for local businesses. With travel to Nepal growing steadily and a country known for such diverse culture, being able to easily make mobile payments at even the smallest merchants who accept NEPALPAY QR, will open up new local and unique experiences for tourists while ensuring more local businesses can benefit from tourism, a key driver of Nepal’s economy. This is a key component of our partnership with national QRs – to promote inclusion and growth at scale while enabling a more connected global travel experience”.

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