SPAIN. Global Blue has partnered with Tencent Holdings to offer instant refunds via WeChat Pay at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport.

It follows the launch of an in-store VAT refund service with online and mobile payment platform Alipay in November, covering many European airports.

WeChat Pay currently has over 800 million active users per month in China

To use the WeChat Pay refund service, travellers must select WeChat as the payment method when arriving at the refund counter at Madrid–Barajas Airport. The traveller can then use the WeChat app to scan a QR code located on the refund counter. This opens a mini-app, which generates a unique barcode.

The refund operator then scans the barcode generated by the mini-app, confirms the amount and approves the refund. A real-time notification is sent to the traveller, confirming the refund has been successfully deposited to their digital wallet.

“Affiliated merchants can now offer Chinese travellers greater choice and flexibility and better attract and retain these high-value customers,” Global Blue commented.

WeChat Pay currently has over 800 million active users per month in China. Global Blue predicts it will become “one of the most important and popular refund options” for Chinese customers.

Global Blue said is was also working with Tencent on an in-store early refund solution allowing Chinese shoppers to receive their refund instantly to their WeChat Pay wallet while still in-store. This service will be launched in Europe during the course of 2018, the company said.