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Opening bank account on tourist visa still possible?

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josephine_qq

Hi Takeshi.

 

Can you please tell me which branch of ICBC you opened your account? Please guide. Thank you

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Takeshi

The sysu branch in Guangzhou.

 

However, today I had a friend try to open an account there and couldn't, they said he needed a work visa and a proof of payment of his accommodation, two things I wasn't asked. He said he tried 5 different bank brands, and nobody would let him. I guess I'm lucky I have an account, but I hope they won't cancel it.

 

To use alipay and wechat pay you basically need a Chinese bank account. (That's why I made my account actually) Does this mean that foreign tourists will be unable to use Alipay or Wechat pay in the future? That would make even travel inconvenient...

 

I'm a bit worried because I heard some rumour Alipay requires foreigners to input two bank accounts. However I only have one, but I have used Alipay thus far without any problems. (I was prepared to open another bank account should I ever get asked to, but now I'm worried I wouldn't be able to.) I hope the 2 bank accounts requirement with Alipay is old information. Anyone know about this?

 

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Clippi

Hi Takeshi, 

 

By any chance are you and your friend a student at sysu? 

Is your friend fluent with Mandarin? 

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889

This is not old, it's current.

 

As I recall, you're placed in one of three bands depending on your activity. If you start transferring more substantial funds, you may be moved into a higher band and asked for a second bank account.

 

This is based on a central bank directive. Look around and you should find details, though probably in Chinese.

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Takeshi

Neither of us are students. My friend is fluent in Mandarin. I'm fluent in Cantonese.

 

Ouch, that really sucks. I don't expect to use a lot of funds with alipay (I only use it when I travel in China). I guess if it happens to me I'll just have some fun with the customer service people and see what I can do. Or maybe I should use Wechat Pay instead. Does Wechat Pay have the same problem?

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DavyJonesLocker
On 09/03/2018 at 7:01 AM, Takeshi said:

However, today I had a friend try to open an account there and couldn't, they said he needed a work visa and a proof of payment of his accommodation, two things I wasn't asked. He said he tried 5 different bank brands, and nobody would let him. I guess I'm lucky I have an account, but I hope they won't cancel it.

 

To use alipay and wechat pay you basically need a Chinese bank account. (That's why I made my account actually) Does this mean that foreign tourists will be unable to use Alipay or Wechat pay in the future? That would make even travel inconvenient...

 

I'm a bit worried because I heard some rumour Alipay requires foreigners to input two bank accounts. However I only have one, but I have used Alipay thus far without any problems. (I was prepared to open another bank account should I ever get asked to, but now I'm worried I wouldn't be able to.) I hope the 2 bank accounts requirement with Alipay is old information. Anyone know about this?

 

Thats strange, I opened a bank account without a work visa. I had a student x1 visa at the time. That account is still active. 

An easier way is to have an account on your home country with a bank that have a branch in China.HSBC do this as do many European and American banks. They only issue is that WeChat alipay may not recognise your card. WeChat Wallet still doesn't accept HSBC accounts. Alipay does

 

Alipay doesn't need 2 accounts. One is fine and I use is daily.

 

 

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mungouk
On 3/14/2018 at 4:27 PM, DavyJonesLocker said:

An easier way is to have an account on your home country with a bank that have a branch in China

 

Do you connect AliPay to your current (checking) account/ATM/Debit card, or to your credit card?

 

I have an account (and CC) with DBS, who appear to have branches in PRC.  So will my debit or credit card work with Alipay do you think?

 

Cheers

 

 

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DavyJonesLocker
29 minutes ago, mungouk said:

 

Do you connect AliPay to your current (checking) account/ATM/Debit card, or to your credit card?

 

I have an account (and CC) with DBS, who appear to have branches in PRC.  So will my debit or credit card work with Alipay do you think?

 

 

Alipay is linked to my Chinese debit card. Note however that it is linked to a bank account in China, so you're new Chinese debit card issued by DBS China.  

The reason why I suggest that you use your home bank as it's much easier to transfer money , will have a native language service in China etc. 

 

To add the card you need to download alipay, send them a photo of ID (as far as I can remember) next to your face and then when approved, then you enter your card number. 

 

No real way to know if it will accept it until you try. I'd imagine it will be no issues as alipay is a payment system whereas wechat is primarily a social media system.

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mungouk

Ah, so you're saying to open a new account in China with bank who you already use overseas (DBS, HSBC, whoever)...?

 

Alipay does operate here in Singapore but it seems to be a walled-off system from the one in China.

 


 

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DavyJonesLocker
36 minutes ago, mungouk said:

Ah, so you're saying to open a new account in China with bank who you already use overseas (DBS, HSBC, whoever)...?

 

Easiest way I found. I also have another account but that's because I needed to get a salary paid into it. It was pretty straightforward though. Just accommodation contract, passport, visa and accommodation registration form.

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889

To link your account with Wechat or Alipay you must use a bank which transmits your passport number to Wechat/Alipay. Most banks are set up to transmit only Chinese ID card numbers. Which banks work changes from time, so ask specifically before opening an account.

 

If your name as shown in your passport takes more than 20 chars/spaces you'll have even bigger problems, since most banks can't handle longer names and truncate them, while Alipay wants the name on your account to match precisely the name shown in your passport.

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mungouk
1 hour ago, 889 said:

If your name as shown in your passport takes more than 20 chars/spaces you'll have even bigger problems, since most banks can't handle longer names and truncate them, while Alipay wants the name on your account to match precisely the name shown in your passport.

 

Damn!  That would catch a lot of foreigners out then.  Good intel, @889

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mungouk

(Sorry to semi-hijack this thread, but I can't find this info anywhere and it's still somewhat relevant...)

 

If you can't link an account/card to your Alipay or WeChat wallet, as a short-term visitor can you still top it up using cash somehow?  Maybe in a convenience store?

 

 

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889

On English Alipay's Help section, it clearly says you cannot add funds to your account until you have been name verified. However, you can usually buy stuff on Taobao and pay through Alipay with a foreign credit card.

 

The Help section on English Alipay also has a list of the bank cards which work with passports for name verification.

 

If you do have a Chinese bank card but can't get it to work on Alipay or Wechat, then download the bank's app and check whether it supports payment by UnionPay 银联 QR codes. Those codes tend to work at larger restaurants, hotels and supermarkets, but not at smaller vendors, which often accept only Alipay or Wechat.

 

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John-DC

FWIW - I just returned to China on an L visa 3 weeks ago. I had a dormant account with ICBC that I last touched mid-2015 that still had a decent (for yuan) chunk of cash in it (woot - bonus surprise). I went into the branch here in Shenyang and although it took about a week I got it reopened, a new debit card, and most importantly access to that cash again. My passport was new from the one I opened it under, and the original account was opened in Wuxi by the school I was teaching. In contrast, BoC said they wouldn't open an account for a tourist, even though I'm on the 10-year 60-day plan. Shrug. So I'm not sure if my situation is representative of what most L-visa holders go through, but in my case the short answer to your question is "yes" (thank goodness for my interpreter though).  :)

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mungouk
On 5/10/2018 at 11:47 AM, 889 said:

If your name as shown in your passport takes more than 20 chars/spaces you'll have even bigger problems, since most banks can't handle longer names and truncate them, while Alipay wants the name on your account to match precisely the name shown in your passport.

 

I just checked this... my full name is 21 characters long and I didn't have any problem registering on Alipay. I just had to go through the real-name authentication process by sending a selfie and a picture of my passport.  

 

Looking at the app, it only displays the first 14 characters, but it's all working fine with my ICBC bank card.

 

 

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mungouk

Having said that, I'm having a problem with entering my name on the ICBC APP on my phone. 


I forgot the password so I'm trying to reset it, but every combination of my name that I've tried results in this error message, which if I'm reading it correctly says that the name I've entered appears to have an error in it, and to try again:

 

IMG_3013.thumb.jpg.7080cbdceebed868b154f0b30e104710.jpg

 

I have the slip in front of me with all the details on it (dot-matrix printout) from when I opened the account, so I know exactly what name they have for me on file.

 

I used this name when I first registered online using the APP, so I know it's correct. 

 

 

 

 

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889

You didn't have a problem because your bank can handle names greater than 20 characters. Some can't and truncate your name, and that can produce a problem with Alipay, which wants your Alipay name, your passport name and your bank name to match letter-for-letter.

 

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