More than two dozen businesses in Stony Brook Village Center and its vicinity have started accepting Chinese mobile payment platforms Alipay and WeChat Pay.
“Stony Brook is an international community,” said Gloria Rocchio, president of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, a nonprofit that owns and operates Stony Brook Village Center.
The organization hopes to accommodate visitors and residents from Asian countries “by providing them with a familiar way of payment,” she said.
According to Rocchio, users pay by providing vendors with cards that feature QR codes, which vendors scan.
“Vendors then get reimbursed by a U.S. bank within two or three days,” she said.
Marios Patatinis of Sweet Mama’s, a restaurant that serves American cuisine “with a Southern spin,” said he “liked the idea of opening the market” to Asian guests.
“Many of the students from nearby Stony Brook University are from Asia; most are Japanese, Korean, or from India,” said Patatinis.
“So I thought accepting Alipay and WeChat Pay would be a good way to bring in some more traffic.”
Dan Laffitte, general manager of Lessings Inc., parent company of Three Village Inn in Stony Brook, said accepting Alipay and WeChat Pay made business sense.
“Being that there is such a large Asian community at the school, it seemed like an appropriate thing to do,” he said.
“We became aware that many people were coming in and asking if they could use their Alipay cards, some of them had cash but for others their Alipay cards were their only form of payment.”
And though he says it’s “too early to tell” the financial impact of the new payment methods, Laffitte said he’s already received “some nice feedback.”