Aleta Planet wins at SBR's Technology Excellence Awards

Its AP-1 virtual card leads the way for seamless and cost-efficient cross-border payments with China.

Recognising a company’s ability to incorporate innovative and more convenient approaches to monetary disbursement, Singapore Business Review has merited its Technology Excellence Award for remittance to Aleta Planet’s AP-1 virtual cards.

China is the world’s biggest exporting country, with $2.5 trillion worth of shipped goods in 2019 alone (Statista, 2019). However, payment challenges in the country have often prevented international businesses from expanding into the Chinese market. And while governments and large institutions typically have the banking capabilities to make payments smoothly, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) often encounter issues remitting or paying into China, due to its capital controls policy.

Aleta Planet solves this problem by being among the first outside mainland China to issue UnionPay virtual commercial accounts with the AP-1 Business Account. It provides a fully digital, all-in-one account for businesses to remit, pay into or collect payments from China and the rest of the world by harnessing the best of UnionPay and Visa networks.

AP-1 Business Account users can instantly remit to UnionPay personal accounts or make payments to Chinese suppliers’ UnionPay commercial accounts, who would promptly receive the payments within T+1.

Often, payees do not have the assurance that their remittances or business payments will get through to their intended recipient in China, due to China’s complex financial regulations and the multiple parties that the payment needs to be routed through. But because our proprietary system leverages China's advanced banking network, UnionPay, and its partners in China, payments can be processed smoothly and quickly within a singular network.

In addition to being a specialist in China, Aleta Planet is also a global acquirer for unconventional card associations such as Discover, Diners and JCB. Our card-agnostic platform supports UnionPay, WeChat Pay, Discover, Diners and JCB, facilitating more payment acceptance options for businesses and consumers. Hence AP-1 Business Account users can receive sales settlements within T+1 for these card schemes.

Aside from creating a virtual business account, Aleta Planet also created a virtual account for personal use. In China, many merchants do not accept cash given the popularity and convenience of mobile payments via QR codes. AP-1 addresses this problem through a UnionPay virtual card that enables users to pay like a local in China, without having to open a local bank account. The personal card sits within an app that enables scanning or generation of QR codes, so users can make payments anywhere on the go through their mobile phone. It is one of the first few foreign cards to leverage on China’s unified QR system, which pushes a single QR code for all major payment systems, including WeChat Pay.

This virtual card is for individuals who travel frequently to China, or with family and friends there. Users can conveniently top up their AP-1 card in SGD or USD through PayNow, bank transfer, or credit card.

It can be used widely in China, allowing users to leverage UnionPay's ubiquitous network for various transactions (with direct SGD to RMB conversion), including buying food from roadside stores to taking taxis and shopping at malls.

With AP-1, users can also remit funds to UnionPay personal accounts within 60 seconds. This is significantly shorter than the average time of two to four business days typically taken for remittance through SWIFT transfer. AP-1 users also save significantly through direct SGD to RMB exchange rates offered by UnionPay as well as UnionPay’s rewards and promotions.

To sign up for AP-1, users simply need to download the AP-1 app through the Apple App Store, Google Play, or Huawei App Gallery. The sign-up process takes just three minutes for Singapore residents with MyInfo and requires no forms to fill or sign. Foreigners can also apply through the app, with their passport details and an e-KYC onboarding process.

As part of Aleta Planet’s belief in sustainable corporate giving, the AP-1 app also includes a charity heart indicator, which signifies Aleta Planet’s pledge to donate as customers spend. Every transaction that customers make brings Aleta Planet one step closer to achieving a full heart, which will indicate Aleta Planet Foundation’s donation of SGD200,000 to various charities. Upon reaching this goal, the charity heart will be reset for the next milestone.

To know more about the company, please visit www.aletaplanet.com.

The Technology Excellence Awards, presented by Singapore Business Review, was held via studio award presentations and video conferencing sessions throughout the second and third week of April.

This year’s nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Daryl Pereira, Head of Cyber at KPMG; Cheang Wai Keat, Partner, Consulting at Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd.; Henry Tan, Group Chief Executive Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at Nexia TS; Sivakumar Saravan, Senior Partner at Crowe Singapore; Cecil Su, Director, Head of Cybersecurity of BDO Singapore.

If you would like to join the 2022 awards and be acclaimed for your company’s exceptional technological innovations, please email Jane Patiag at jane@charltonmediamail.com.

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