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September 15, 2015

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Cash-free breakfast snack option

HUNGRY city commuters no longer need to fumble for change to pay for breakfast van snacks as they can now simply scan a QR code with their smartphones.

Some 600 registered breakfast vans — serving up early morning favorites such as deep-fried dough sticks, rice balls, dumplings and rice congee — are now offering the service through online payment provider Alipay,

Commuters can get their goodies quicker and it will improve hygiene as less cash is handled, said officials.

The service, launched by Alipay, Shanghai Commercial Commission and Shanghai Breakfast Project Industry Associate, is set to expand to all Shanghai’s 1,000 licensed breakfast snack vans.

Under the scheme, a sign with the QR code is usually placed above the snack van serving hatch.

Customers choose items and get a total from staff. Then they scan the code and enter the sum on their Alipay app, showing this to staff to ensure they tally.

If the total exceeds 10 yuan (US$1.6) they are eligible for a discount.

“I like it as I don’t have to use cash for the payment anymore,” commuter Jessica Lu, told Shanghai Daily.

Lu said she has hygiene concerns about anyone touching food just after touching cash.

Vendors also praised the scheme.

Breakfast van owner Mi Zhanmei told that with the new service she no longer needs to find change for customers while cooking food.

Mi said she served nearly 100 customers between 8am and 10am, with about 20 paying by scanning the QR code.

Shanghai’s government has signed a strategic agreement with e-commerce giant Alibaba, which created Alipay.

Officials next hope to extend the QR code scheme to vegetable markets.


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