Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has banned the usage of Chinese digital wallets like Wechat pay, Alipay, in the wake of reports of hampering foreign income. There were several news posts regarding the use of these wallets by Chinese tourists and Chinese restaurants.
Authorities now term such payment as illegal as some use it for illegal money transfer like in the form of “hundi”.
Wechat and Alipay are the most popular mobile wallets or digital payment providers in China. As the Chinese nationals are habituated for this sort of payment, they even use it outside China. Chinese people have operated restaurants, shops and more in Nepal, for which they prefer to use Wechat or Alipay for Chinse tourists.
As the Chinese people pay for the bills and businesses through those Chinese applications, foreign money does not enter Nepal. Similarly, the authorities cannot even charge the tax for such payment, which is not trackable. Citing this to have harmed the revenue out of the tax, NRB, the central bank has made such payment illegal.
It is not only Chinese nationals but other foreign nationals also use foreign payment system through QR code, POS machine.
Several media like THT, Bizmandu, etc posted the news about the usage of Wechat and Alipay in Nepal by Chinese restaurants and shop keepers. They even made a follow up to the authorities for the possible impact and questioned the legitimacy of such payments. The main point for their argument is that these Chinese applications are not registered here in Nepal. So, the tourists spending (if happen from such payment) has no impact on the income of the country.
Nepal, being a tourism-oriented country should have an impact on the economy of the country, by tourists spending.
Will Wechat and Alipay stop working in Nepal?
Well, the question remains if the Wechat pay and Alipay will stop working here in Nepal. The answer is No. The NRB authorities have only termed the payment as illegal. They have not asked any telecom and ISPs to block the transaction from these apps.
So, if there is any complain of such apps usage to the authorities, they will investigate and charge of the crime if found.
The way out
Although they are not made illegal now, there has to be some solution to resolve this issue. One simple solution for these apps to work legally is by registering here in Nepal. As the market is quite small, they can also find some intermediary agents for the Chinese payment companies in Nepal. Using these ways, the money paid through Chinese apps can be considered as foreign income.
With the proliferation of Nepali digital wallets or payment providers, Nepal should promote the use of its own digital wallets. But though we consider the world as a global village, the impact of payments giants to local companies. Similarly, we shall not overlook the impact of these apps on the economy. Though we are still lagging behind in the regulation and promotion of such apps, it seems the cashless payment is nowhere stopping.