Canadian 7-Elevens Ready for Chinese Mobile Payment Systems

November 23, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

It’s not a surprise to see convenience stores accept mobile payments. It’s really not; the whole point of a convenience store is right there in the name—convenience–and mobile payments are certainly convenient. What is surprising is to see the intermingling of country-level platforms. Canadian 7-Eleven locations—specifically, those in Vancouver and Toronto—are now ready to take Chinese mobile payment platforms, specifically, Alipay and WeChat Pay.

This actually represents the first time a Canadian chain store has set up shop with WeChat Pay and Alipay, reports note. Though the duo have been busy with rapid expansion worldwide—Alipay now operates in 40 countries worldwide, reports note, with over 250 financial institutions and 27 different currencies accepted under the Alipay banner—they’re not exactly ubiquitous outside of China yet.

7-Eleven set up the arrangement in concert with Citcon, a company which focuses primarily on bringing Alipay and WeChat Pay operations to American platforms. This might be the first time that Citcon has made the branch into Canada, but given that 7-Eleven also has a substantial United States presence, this could just be a one-off sort of event.

Reports also noted that 7-Eleven’s future plans will see the duo hit more locations in the country, among other things. 7-Eleven’s been keeping right up with the pace of innovation; it’s set to start testing Scan & Pay systems in 14 different stores in the Dallas area, which will put it into a competitive position with Amazon locations that don’t require much human presence.

About the only reason to put a Chinese mobile payments system in place is because you’re either currently experiencing or just expecting substantial business from the growing Chinese tourist class. We’ve already seen upscale shops by the score add Alipay and WeChat Pay to their operations, hoping to skim off the top of that class, but seeing convenience stores like 7-Eleven go that route is a bit of a surprise. Is 7-Eleven hoping that the Chinese tourist will demand Slurpees? I admit, for some of them there could be an intense novelty value in the Big Gulp or one of its larger cohorts, but how big is this market?

7-Eleven will likely find that point out soon enough, and will probably welcome the presence of its new payment systems when it does.