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Going Cashless in China with Ali Pay for Foreigner?



Before travelling to China, H & I had heard about the go-cashless payment method in China. We saw videos of people going cashless payment for a day. So, we decide to try it out for ourselves! We arrived in Shanghai, the busiest city in China, with no Ren Ming Bi (RMB) with us.

Sadly, we didn’t do our homework well enough and realised that Ali Pay does not accept foreign credit card as a mode to top-up. The Alipay that is linked to your Taobao account cannot be use in China. Foreign credit card don't work with Alipay. To have a valid account, one must have a local phone number and bank account. We ended up changing our money in the airport with super lousy rate and transaction fee so that we can buy train to Train station.

Thankfully, we bought our sim card from Singapore and managed to call for helpline. Our long-distant relatives transferred money to our AliPay Account and she saved the trip!

Ali Pay is really amazing because once you have money inside your account, you can use it at everywhere. From transportation to street food, Alipay is accepted everywhere! Here’s how the AliPay App look like.



Little did I know that Wechat has already allowed foreign user to top up the account using foreign credit card. Thus, if you are interested to go Cashless in China, you can try Wechat. Most places accept WechatPay. Although there is one occasion when I overheard the waitress telling customers they only accept AliPay or Cash.

We read somewhere from the forum that you can’t transfer money to other user but you can use to pay with your credit card. & You have to download WechatPay from China if not it will not work. Personally, I have not tried Wechat pay in China. Let me know how it goes!

So in conclusion, Alipay is great but definitely not friendly to foreigners.  If we do not have relatives or friends transferring money to us, we won't get the convenience. Thus, it is advisable to bring some cash with you while you are travelling to China. Especially if you do not have any China friends because Ali pay is not going to work for you. 

Hope Alipay will introduce the feature to top up with foreign credit card soon! 


Read our 3 Days 2 Night Shanghai itinerary here 
Read the next part of our trip to Shaoxing here
Read our review on Park Hyatt Ningbo here 
Read things to know before visiting China here 

Read going cashless with Alipay in China here

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