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Shanghai-based budget carrier aims to innovate travel payments through its smartphone app

By Wang Ying in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-02 06:52
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A crew member of budget carrier Spring Airlines accompanies a boy traveling himself at Dalian airport, Liaoning province. WANG HUA / VISUAL CHINA

Shen Wenhao is about to pay the final installment of his air ticket that brought him from his home of Qingdao, Shandong province, during the National Day holiday in October.

"I looked for an affordable air ticket before the holiday, and discovered that I can pay by installments without down payment on Spring Airlines' app," said the 25-year-old, who works for a logistics company.

Like Shen, many people benefit from the new payment service launched by Shanghai-based budget carrier Spring Airlines, which aims to innovate travel consumption through its smartphone app.

All registered members of Spring Airlines aged between 18 and 55 years old can apply for the installment service when they buy Spring Airlines tickets without using a credit card or third party payment, said Zhou Haiyang, marketing manager of Spring's financial division.

"Consumers can either choose installments of three, six, nine and 12 with zero down payment, and the monthly service charge is as low as between 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent," said Zhou.

In less than three months, the service has handled up to 50,000 customers, and the company is going to launch a similar service for its traveling products.

In the past few years, Spring has started offering online services, such as the foreign currency exchange that it added in April in cooperation with Ctrip Financial Services Co.

"I had very a bad experience in exchanging Chinese yuan for the destination country's currency before, but it all went smoothly this time," said Zhang Jue, who tried Spring's currency exchange service in September before her trip to the United States.

According to Zhang, she booked online and collected the money without queuing on Saturday at one of Spring's counters that offer the service.

'More convenient'

"This is much more convenient than going to banks that require you to go on weekdays and wait for hours. The situation becomes even more complicated if the foreign currency is not that common. So sometimes, I ask my parents to do that for me," Zhang said.

For the moment, as many as 28 foreign currencies can be exchanged online through Spring's app, and the bank notes can be picked up at about 130 locations in 15 Chinese cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing, said Zhou.

"It's worth mentioning that the exchange service also provides a follow-up option where customers can change the leftover foreign currency back at the same currency exchange rate when they return to China," Zhou added.

Spring said nearly 50 million yuan worth of foreign currencies were exchanged in the past six months, and there are plans to extend the service to more Chinese cities next year.

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