Bad payment apps

The Alipay system on Aliexpress is entirely different, you don’t store any cash in it even though they call it a wallet. You need a proper account to be able to do so.

Yes, it’s AI face recognition- I didn’t think there were any other sorts? The example you gave seems tedious and doesn’t really help improve the payment process imo- with this there are entirely unmanned stores. You can read about the supermarket here (It’s in Mandarin, but there’s an English article here discussing this technology). I love how you can just pick fresh seafood and get them to cook it for you on the spot with other dishes too. A German YouTuber has done a video on the place too


The AliExpress’s Alipay is AliPay International and it cannot be accessed by the AliPay app, I think. The app is the Chinese Alipay. While the app appears to be working regardless, I found purchases only go through verification stage if you are not on WiFi (while in UK), it is definatley happier with cellular internet for some bizarre reason :smile:

Although I haven’t used it in person, it works perfectly fine for online payments on TaoBao and Tmall as a heads up if you have somebody special over there that you want to surprise :wink:

I am planning to use it in person in a few months time so will let you know as last time I didn’t buy a local sim and thus was offline most of the time (even free wifi requires chinese number to get you online) - definitely does not work offline with foreign cards, but I suppose if you are online and you can get dynamic code it will probably be fine. I think offline QR codes have to be linked to bank accounts and obviously that is not possible if you don’t have Chinese bank account. (I am pondering on opening one, as requirements seem pretty low over there - pretty much they only want passport)

Also I think purchases with mastercard/visa have a small surcharge on AliPay (at least TaoBao always warns me), but it is in the area of laughable ( I think i got 2 or 3 yuan on 1999yuan purchase surcharge) :blush:

Also storing cash on AliPay won’t work with recent legislation changes as it requires you to have validated your account and the only ways are through Chinese bank account or Chinese id card. It is pretty funny as i have some yuan in my wallet but because my account is not verified for obvious reasons, I cannot really use them anymore.

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Thanks for clarifying, that’s what I thought. Same brand, totally different service.

Actual, non-artificial intelligence, like the Square system was (relied on the cashier recognising faces).

It was :slight_smile: and it’s probably why it totally failed. When I heard of facial recognition payment in Asia, that’s what I thought they meant! Thank you for clarifying it’s much more sophisticated and, it seems, useful (if a touch creepy… menu items based on mood).

The video within the article you linked is also really good:

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Apologies for the off topic, but do you have any opinion of China’s Merchant Bank as that’s what has been recommended to me as the expat choice ( supposedly can get good service in English).

About Tesco Pay+, I had considered it as they had huge points promotion, but knowing how annoying is scanning of the QR code from their club card app and how often it does not work (pretty much works every single time only for the latest machines that doesn’t have scales), I decided I cannot be bothered. Maybe in an a few years, for now I happily fly through the checkout with ApplePay

Being fair, the new machines without scales work better in every way.

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You say that but the Sainsburys new machines (now about a year old) at their mini Local store opposite their headquarters got so slow (they weren’t initially) that it takes about 30 seconds to click Confirm, I want to pay, like pretty much everyone is speechless at how bad they are…

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I was referring to Tesco. The thing is, they’re the same machines, but Sainsbury’s the experience is awful. Is your store running the new software (the roundabout-style scanned items instead of a list, you know, the one so badly designed it feels as if it’s almost designed to make you double scan things?). The new self-checkout software that Sainsbury’s is rolling out is so shockingly bad I find it unbelievable anyone approved it.


Yes, I think that update killed them, I suppose they are probably under resourced prototype or something.

And yes, the machines itself look shockingly identical regardless of Tesco, Sainsburys, Coop, M&S. Obviously the UI is different…

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Because they are :slight_smile: the same ones are very common world-wide.

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Oh, I will be visiting my significant other in Shanghai, though no plans to move yet.

I think the worst experience I had was with Lidl self-checkout machines claiming their prepackaged steak has 2gr difference between what’s in system and what’s on scale and blocking everything until the only staff member, servicing 20 tills comes over.

Pointless to say, that shop took forever as the steak wasn’t the only problem, in-fact pretty much every single item afterwards was a problem to the point the guy just completed my shop from their special menu, and I didn’t go near a Lidl for probably more than 6 months.

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Lidl is one shop I rarely go into, and almost always regret when I do. The products are mediocre, the shop miserable, the checkout queue enormous, and the entire thing is just… a giant faff. And they don’t take American Express (yes, a minor thing in comparison to the rest, but irritating).

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I am a bit of a food snob and do prefer shopping at M&S and Waitrose, and top up at Tesco’s due to convenience. However I do find things that are of excellent quality in Lidl that I crave from time to time. Definitely not everything, but there are some stuff worth looking at cough like Canadian ice wine cough

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Has anyone used Amex Pay or know why it exists?

I just got an amex card, and it tried to get me to set up Amex Pay. It appears to be basically the same as Android Pay but without the support for visa or MasterCard. Not sure why I would use it when Android Pay supports all three.

It is possible* that Amex Pay has better acceptance rate than AndroidPay (I think the latter is for sure not accepted in Tesco and Abocado), thankfully ApplePay tops them all being accepted pretty much everywhere contactless is :smiley:

*not sure, just a guess

Amex UK didn’t originally support Android Pay, they tried to force Amex Pay on people instead. It was terrible, like all bank contactless apps I’ve tried. It wasn’t Barclaycard Contactless Mobile level terrible. It actually worked, and didn’t force itself as default. But it was pretty bad.

It did not, and Apple Pay does not either. The same issues with Amex mobile contactless on iPP 350s affected all the mobile wallets. Thankfully, they’ve been fixed at Tesco, Boots, McDonalds, Coop, etc.

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I hate that new UI. Absolutely hate it. I don’t know why they changed it, the old one worked perfectly, and was easy to use.

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Indeed. The one’s with the strange coin conveyor belt (that stopped accepting £2 coins, except sometimes they did)…

Thankfully, I believe Morrison’s have changed to the NCR ones now, like the other shops.

I still miss the original self-checkouts though (the ones with the conveyor belt after the scanner display, that sent the stuff down to the packing area) - they were fun.


Agreed times a thousand. If they were trying to get people to accidentally pay for things twice and slow down queues with confusion, they couldn’t have done a better job. For actually making a working, usable system? Not even close.