Using WeChat or Alipay to Pay for Your China Travel
What is Wechat pay ?
As stated above, WeChat Pay allows individuals to make electronic payments using their smartphone. A significant number of Chinese citizens use WeChat Pay instead of paper currency, and as a tourist, setting up a WeChat Pay account can make purchasing products, sending money, and paying bills considerably easier. If you choose to make a purchase in China, the app will automatically convert your currency into CNY (and vice-versa for tourists). Once the buyer confirms the deal in the app, the money will be deducted from your home account.
WeChat Pay supports a large number of currencies, which include, but are not limited to USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, AUD, and NZD. Vendors agree to accept these currencies, and if your country’s currency is not supported, transactions can be made in USD.
Setting up a Wechat pay account
Setting up a WeChat Pay account as a tourist is relatively simple, and the process only consists of a few steps. To start using WeChat Pay in China, you must first download the app and link your WeChat wallet to your personal bank account. It is important to note, however, that you must have a Chinese bank account or a credit card from your home country. In the past, only Chinese credit cards where accepted, but the app now allows tourists to use international credit and debit cards in the app.
To set up WeChat Pay account, complete the following steps:
• Open the app and select the “Me” option. After selecting this option, tap “Wallet.”
• Select the “Bank Card” option.
• Choose “Add a Card.”
• Enter your card number into the prompt.
• Enter your passport ID number, name, and phone number.
• Once you have entered your card and personal information, you will be sent a confirmation code via SMS. Enter the code into the prompt.
• Once you enter the code, you will be asked to create a payment passcode. Similar to a PIN number, a passcode will allow you to approve payments.
• Accept the user agreement and begin using WeChat Pay to make transactions.
If you intend to use a foreign credit card in China, you will need to enter your billing information and the security code on the back of the card. You will also be asked to verify the card number. It is important to note, however, that some credit card issues charge foreign transaction fees, which can be up to 2% of the overall purchase price of a product or service. Your card issuer may also initially refuse to allow you to input your information due to fraud suspicions. This issue can usually be solved by contacting the issuer directly.
What is Alipay ?
Alipay is the dominant payment app in China and can be used for purchasing goods and services, direct transfer, paying bills, and other functions. Alipay connects directly to your Chinese bank to make payments and transfers.
Setting up a Alipay account
1. Download the Alipay APP
You can do so by following this link and clicking “立即下载” (or by looking for it in your favorite APP store):
You can sign up simply with your phone number
2. Open the “Me” section of the APP
3. Enter the “My Account: Cards, Membership” section
4. Tap on the “My Cards – Add Now” button
5. Set a six digit payment password
6. Tap on “My Cards – Add Now” again
7. Add your bank card number after entering the transaction password that you have set during step 5
8. Fill your bank card information
Make sure to enter your name exactly the way it is displayed in your bank statements.
Enter your ID details:
For foreign nationals- Select Passport as ID type
For HK and Taiwan users- Use Home visit Permit as ID type
9. Enter the SMS phone verification confirmation code
Using WeChat or Alipay in China to Pay?
You can also use Alipay and WeChat to pay items for sale in apps that lack traditional payment functionalities. For example, with Ele.me or Meituan you can order takeout at local restaurants and pay using Alipay or WeChat.
In addition to standard transactions, these mobile payment apps have taken the convenience of mobile payment to a higher level by allowing you to pay for bills like cellphone service and Internet with the app. Depending on your area and provider, you may even be able to pay for utilities like electricity and water too.