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Jan Finster

What is the best payment method for short-term stays?

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Jan Finster

I wonder what you guys recommend as payment method in China if you are a tourist/short term student?

 

Recently, I realised how difficult it was to pay in China without WeChatPay, Alipay and the like.

Mastercard and VISA was not widely accepted (even in Starbucks). I could not even withdraw cash with my debit or credit card from an ATM machine or at the bank. Luckily, I had some € cash, but even this turned out to be difficult to exchange to RMB since I did not have a Chinese address (?). Eventually (at bank number 8) I succeeded. Of course I could load up on RMB here in Europe, but I do not feel so good about carrying a lot of cash...

 

Any recommendations?

 

 

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vellocet

Use your bank card to withdraw yuan from any ATM.  Compare the logos on the ATM with the logos on your card. If one matches, you can use the machine to withdraw money.  

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889

Maybe your bank blocked overseas ATM withdrawals. In any event, carry two or three cards from different banks in case there's a problem.

 

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imron
6 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

I could not even withdraw cash with my debit or credit card from an ATM machine or at the bank

Some banks allow this, other's don't.  You'll have the most success with ICBC and Bank of China, but like vellocet said, compare the logos, and as 889 said, make sure you've notified your bank that you're overseas and wish to allow foreign ATM withdrawals.

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DavyJonesLocker

If you know someone you could give them cash , bank transfer and they send you rmb to your wechat account.

 

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歐博思

I thought Wechat opened up Wechat Pay so international cards could be used as well??

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歐博思

For some reason I thought that sounded too crazy to be true, doubled checked it, and of course it's just as you said. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

 

Naturally, I was then curious as to whether a tourist or short term visitor could open a bank account. My brief Google search indicates it is actually possible to get the local bank account necessary to use Wechat Pay and the like, but it's not guaranteed the first bank branch you walk into is going to help you. 

 

But if you're dead set on wanting to try buying your 饅頭 with Wechat Pay and have a day to kill running between banks, you could probably get a local bank account as a tourist. However, you'll need a Chinese phone number for sure in order to receive verification messages and the like. 

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mungouk

I arrived in Beijing a week ago and this is a bit of a pain. 

 

AliPay and WeChat are missing a trick here... surely they could bring out temporary credit cards that you pre-load with cash (I used one in Australia) which can then be linked to their payment systems?

 

Edit: I just installed AliPay on my phone and it accepted a UK Visa credit card OK, but I can't top up until I complete "real-name authentication" which requires a mainland china bank card to also be added for verification. 

 

I also just got landed with a counterfeit 100 kuai note.  Suddenly paying for things feels a lot harder than it should be...

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889

The problem is with the government rule requiring name verification with a domestic bank account, not with Wechat or Alipay.

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DavyJonesLocker
3 hours ago, 歐博思 said:

I thought Wechat opened up Wechat Pay so international cards could be used as well??

 

Yeah I read on line that it was possible but couldn't manage it myself. Thanks for the link @889 I didn't know what the reason was.

I would have thought a top up , prepay like facility would be implemented with wechat, alipay.  Would be a nice  solution for foreigners. 

 

(edit just saw the above reply )

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889

"I just installed AliPay on my phone and it accepted a UK Visa credit card OK, but I can't top up until I complete 'real-name authentication.'"

 

You should be able to use your overseas credit card on Alipay to pay for most Taobao purchases even if you don't have a Chinese bank card, though you'll be charged a fee. Alipay may, however, ask for a copy of the credit card, your passport and a billing statement at some point.

 

Even if you do all this, you still cannot receive cash from others or make QR payments on Alipay without completing real-name verification using a Chinese bank account. Note well that only some banks can do this for passport holders.

 

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mungouk
7 minutes ago, 889 said:

completing real-name verification using a Chinese bank account.

 

OK I'm going to get a Chinese bank account next week when I get my passport back from the PSB.


Is this "real-name verification" something you have to do in the bank, or do you do it online/through the APP?

 

 

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889

First, when you open your bank account you need to make sure you've checked all the options to open it for online banking, online purchases, Alipay/Wechat, etc. And set limits sufficiently high.

 

Second, you need to use a bank that works for name verification with passports on Wechat/Alipay. The Wechat list is in the link above. The Alipay list is shorter and a bit different.

 

You do the actual name verification online with Wechat/Alipay when you link your new Mainland bank card. With Wechat at least it should take just seconds. Note you absolutely must enter your name precisely as it's shown on the bank records. Upper-lowercase counts. Keep all those papers you get from the bank for reference.

 

 

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TheBigZaboon

@mungouk I think you'll find the 100块 note worth its weight in gold...

 

My wife and I got one from the boat ticket kiosk in the Summer Palace a few years ago, and she hasn't stopped flashing it to her friends since. It's a sure conversation starter anywhere Chinese tourism is mentioned. None of my teachers or our Chinese friends had ever actually seen one, although they had all warned us about them. I used to bring it to class whenever counterfeit supernotes were on the class schedule.

 

The note itself was a really crappy imitation, that, if it hadn't been buried in a pack of notes, would never have ever passed muster. Before we noticed it was fake, I gave it to a girl working in a coffee stand unknowingly, and she ripped it slightly along the top, before refusing to accept it. That seems to be customary. I guess that's so that you can't pass it on to some other unsuspecting customer or vendor.

 

In any case, enjoy it for its intrinsic, rather than its monetary value...

 

TBZ

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roddy
2 minutes ago, TheBigZaboon said:

she ripped it slightly along the top, before refusing to accept it.

I think, actually, that's a test, although presumably only when you're already a bit suspicious. Lets you have a closer look at the paper used, I guess? Or maybe it is a service to other businesses - "watch out, this one's a fake?"

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DavyJonesLocker
2 hours ago, TheBigZaboon said:

@mungouk I think you'll find the 100块 note worth its weight in gold...

 

 

 

Not in Beijing anymore , it's common as can be. Used all the time and readily accepted. Things are so expensive now anyway so you need a lot of 100k , notes here (if you use cash)

You would struggle to get a meal for 2 for under 100 kuai now unless it's pretty low key. Average shopping center meal I usual pay 150 . Hotpot last night was 360 for two. Lunch earlier was 163. 

At a gas station and many just pay cash to avoid going into the service center .

The days of a 100k note being a rare sight  are long gone in the main cities .

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roddy

You miss his point. He means the fake is a valuable conversation piece. 

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DavyJonesLocker
9 minutes ago, roddy said:

You miss his point. He means the fake is a valuable conversation piece. 

 

Ah ok! Silly me!

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mungouk

Well, that fake note became a WeChat moment within a few minutes and it certainly caused interest and surprise among Chinese friends... (who probably barely touch cash any more)

 

I had no idea this was so prevalent.  When I changed some money in Singapore before coming to BJ they actually gave me a receipt with a list of all the serial numbers of the 100 kuai notes (it was all 100s) so I could prove they were real, which was a new thing to me.

 

Also when paying with cash here (because I'm e-disenfranchised, see above) I had actually noticed that everyone was flicking, bending and otherwise inspecting the notes. 

 

Does anyone know which APP my restaurant owner today would have used to check the serial number was a fake?  

 

 

 

 

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