Let's not make payments difficult for foreigners

Both India and China skipped the traditional payments infrastructure and went straight to contactless payments.

I respect the convenience it brings to locals but both systems leave foreigners out in the cold. Without a local bank account, it’s effectively impossible to join the same network of payments that all commercial activity takes part in. Foreigners aren’t allowed into the party and have to pay with cash.

We’re in 2024 and these countries have what I’d consider advanced fintech infrastructure, for goodness sake!

China permitted foreigners to link international credit cards to Alipay and WeChat Pay last summer. I haven’t been to China since the announcement but I’ve heard it goes a long way for tourists. India has yet to do something similar to the best of my knowledge but I hope that day comes soon.

Both countries share the distinct advantage of having a self-sustaining market so neither may feel a need to make adjustments immediately. But China is aggressively courting international visitors these days and India will want to show off its progress to the world. Making payments easier would go a long way to appeal to short-term tourists.

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