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Apple Pay Transit for Shanghai in the works

Use your Apple phone as a metro ticket

In the impending future, riders will be able to use their iPhones and Apple Watches to enter the Shanghai Metro and, further down the line, board buses. Digital code sleuthing by 9to5mac.com has revealed that Apple Pay Transit is in the works for Shanghai and Beijing's public transport systems.

Whether Apple's system will arrive before the Shanghai Metro's phone QR-ticket becomes usable for non-Chinese nationals is yet to be seen. Still, there's no harm in having options when it comes to fumbling with your phone at the metro gate, and Apple Watch users can feel extra sci-fi waving their wrists about to gain entry.


Apple Pay Transit is already available in Guangzhou, seven other major cities across the world and all over Japan. In Guangzhou, Apple Pay Transit only works with linked UnionPay cards, so the same can be expected of the system if and when it comes to Shanghai. Also, Apple Pay Transit is usable without an internet connection, so lacking phone credit or hitting those occasional underground dead zones for cellular data will be no problem.

Apple's transit payment function will be a welcome option to foreigners in Shanghai who are, so far, excluded from Shanghai Metro's phone QR-ticket system by its Chinese shenfenzhen card requirement, an issue due to be rectified 'mid-2018'.

An article by South China Morning Post (VPN required) reports that Tencent Pay, WeChat Pay and Alipay are also getting a piece of the digital metro ticket game, with their payment services available for public transit in cities like Hangzhou, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and more. Those payment options' unavailability in Shanghai might come as a surprise, seeing how their digital payment platforms dominate while Apple Pay struggles in China (VPN required).

In all likelihood, it will take more than Apple Pay Transit to turn things around for Apple Pay in China. But it could also be the thing to make a few more people use Apple's payment platform... for metro rides at least.

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