Mobile payment has become an increasingly popular payment method all over the world, especially in China, mobile payments such as Alipay are even more dominating, you can hardly see anyone pay for anything with real cash, which makes some people wondering: is Alipay really safe?

In this article, we will discuss the reliability of Alipay from multiple dimensions to see if it is really safe for people to use it as the main payment method in daily life and business.  

1. What is the corporate background of Alipay?

Alipay is owned by the famous Alibaba Group – one of the biggest Chinese multinational technology companies, that operates in a number of business sectors including Internet, e-commerce, and retail.

With a market value of over 800 billion dollars, Alibaba owns several super e-commerce platforms such as AliExpress, Alibaba, and Taobao.

According to Wikipedia, Alibaba has the sixth-highest global brand valuation, and the online sales and profits of its e-commerce platforms have surpassed all US retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and eBay combined.

Taking Alibaba’s capital level into consideration, one can say that the anti-risk capability of Alibaba is beyond imagination.

Alipay gives protection to buyers when items fail to be delivered or items are not in line with what described by the seller.

Under circumstances of a failed delivery or unmatched seller’s description, the relevant transaction amount can be fully or partially refunded to the buyer.

The security of the financial information of the users is also guaranteed by Alipay’s advanced security technology and high data encryption standards, there hasn’t been any known online leaking of user’s information since the launch of Alipay.

Alipay and PayPal both provide payment solutions to buyers and sellers. As third party payment service providers, Alipay and PayPal are both supposed to be the middle man between buyers and sellers.

But in fact, in terms of disputes, the scale of PayPal leans more to the buyer’s side, while Alipay plays a role as a real escrow agent – it doesn’t get itself involved directly in any disputes between buyers and sellers.

If you are a buyer and you often place orders that you are not that sure about, you can consider using PayPal, because you can enable the PAD (pay after delivery) service offered by PayPal for most of your transactions.

The PAD service allows you to pay for the items you bought after at least 14 days from the date of the transaction.

While from the perspective of sellers, PayPal might not be that much an attractive option to you.

Once your buyer opens a dispute, your funds could be frozen immediately and you’ll be put into a rather passive position. Besides that, PayPal can also do anything they want to your account and the funds in it at any time – it’s literally in their service agreement.

Theoretically, your Alipay account can’t be accessed by anyone else.

On one hand, the password for login and the password for payment are different from each other, and there are several kinds of passwords including biological codes such as fingerprint, face, even voice. So, stealing an Alipay account is almost impossible.

On the other hand, any unauthorized transaction is covered by the Alipay member protection policy.

An “unauthorized transaction” means a transaction that transfers money out of your Alipay account or the bank cards linked to your Alipay account, and such transaction is not authorized by you and jeopardizes your benefits.

More specifically speaking, if your password was stolen by someone, and the stealer accessed your account using the stolen password and made a transaction, such transaction will be deemed as an “unauthorized transaction”.  

However, if someone uses your Alipay account info provided by you to access your account and make a transaction that you don’t acknowledge, such transaction will not be deemed to be an “unauthorized transaction”.

Once you find out about any suspected authorized transaction that occurs in your account, you can submit the information and documents related to the transaction to Alipay.

If the unauthorized transaction is confirmed by Alipay, they will credit the full amount of relevant transaction into your Alipay account or directly into the bank cards linked to your Alipay account.

There is one more thing to be noted before entering the confirmation process of unauthorized transactions: the compensation cap will vary by money resources.

If the amount of the unauthorized transaction is transferred out of the bank cards linked to your Alipay account, you can receive the full amount of the relevant transaction.

If the amount of the unauthorized transaction is transferred out of the stored value of your Alipay account, then the compensation cap will be $500 or $ 250 depending on whether you’ve completed the KYC (know your customer) verification with Alipay.

Alibaba Group is not only a global e-commerce giant but also one of the most advanced technology companies in the world. Empowered by Alibaba, Alipay is one of the safest payment channels on this planet.

However, considering the evolving technology nowadays, it would be a lie to say that hacking a website is impossible. But hacking something like Alipay is extremely difficult and dangerous, it’ll cost much more than you and I can possibly imagine.

Compared with external hacking, internal employees can even be larger a risk. Employee fraud can be much more difficult to prevent than security breaches and technical errors.  

For normal users of Alipay, hacker’s attacking is the least they should worry about in regards to account security.

Every single transaction that happened on Alipay is closely monitored by Alipay’s real-time risk monitoring system on a 7/24 basis.

This AI-powered risk engine will conduct real-time analysis of the data of transactions and determines the risk level of each transaction based on factors including user behavior.

With the strong support from this risk engine, the fraud loss rate of Alipay has been kept significantly lower than the industry average – loss of less than $0.64 in every $10 million worth of payments.

This powerful AI engine has 4 main features: evolution, perception, AI detection, and autopilot. It can detect and analyze fraud attempts and take countermeasures automatically. Even for new risks that never showed before, it can take reaction within one second.

Security, above all things, is the most critical problem any wireless payment service provider has to overcome.

In Alipay’s earlier stage of development, it hardly gains much trust from people. As time goes by, Alipay has proved itself to be capable enough to safeguard its user’s assets.

Although Alipay’s security system is unbreakable through any internal channels, there are some external physical risks that users should take precautions. 

As we all know, when we use Alipay, we are basically scanning QR codes – either you scan me, or I scan you. While QR codes are very convenient and easy to use, they are very vulnerable and easy to steal too.

Generally, there are 2 types of QR codes – payment codes used to pay vendors, and collect codes used to collect money from buyers.

These codes can be easily generated, copied, or replaced.

For example, earlier there was a piece of news went viral on the Internet, says a man replaced all the Alipay collect codes on an entire commercial street by just simply covering the original collect codes with his own code, which caused a tremendous amount of loss in a very short period of time.  

For safety consideration, we suggest you keep the following tips in mind when using QR codes to avoid being scammed:  

  1. Make sure no one can easily scan you when you are about to show your payment code.
  2. Confirm the collect code with the payment receiver as much as possible.
  3. See if there is any trace of replacement on the codes stuck in public venues.

If used in the right way, Alipay should be safe enough for everyone.

We can hardly say there is a flawless system in this world, nonetheless, perfect is not what makes safety. Billions of users have given their trust to Alipay, and that’s what will push Alipay to build a more safe and secure environment, to become better and better.

The end

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