AliPay has launched a new service offering customers the ability to use the Visa credit card to fund their online purchases.

The payment system provides buyers and sellers on two of Alibaba's online marketplaces, Alibaba China (B2B) and

Taobao.com (C2C), with a comprehensive payment solution that resolves the issue of trust in online transactions while providing an efficient platform for transacting online.

AliPay customers now have three secure choices for funding their payments: Visa card, wire transfer and online transfer from their existing bank account.

Alibaba will also make AliPay available to independent merchants later this spring, further expanding its market opportunities, increasing customer acquisition and most importantly, providing ease of use for its members and customers.

The Visa funding option partners AliPay and the Agricultural Bank of China, one of the country's four largest national banks, which serves as the acquiring bank for Visa payments into AliPay accounts. AliPay has also partnered with the other leading national financial institutions including China Merchants Bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank to offer the most secure payment options available.

There are 6 million Visa cards issued to date in China. An AC Neilson survey reports credit card penetration in China's three key cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou jumping to 22% in 2004.

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