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mungouk

Here it comes: WeChat Pay and Alipay for foreigners

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mungouk

Guideinchina reports that WeChat pay is trialling a collaboration with Visa, Mastercard and AmEx, which would allow foreigners without a Chinese UnionPay card to finally pay for stuff without having a local bank account.

 

Meanwhile The Beijinger also reports that the international version of the Alipay APP is now able to use the "Tour Pass" mini-program to pay for stuff via a "prepaid card service provided by the Bank of Shanghai" that can be topped up in RMB using an international credit or debit card.

 

 

 

 

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889

Wechat has been claiming they have something that works -- but doesn't -- for a couple years now. Too early to put any faith in their claims they're serious this time, "really we are." They have a truly bad track record to overcome.

 

Apparently some people have gotten the Alipay Tourist Pass to work. There's a 5 percent fee from January 1.

 

 

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mungouk
1 minute ago, 889 said:

They have a truly bad track record to overcome.

 

Well, if Alipay gets the lead on this then WeChat will lose out enormously.  Quite an incentive to get it right, quickly.  But as you suggest... believe it when you see it.

 

2 minutes ago, 889 said:

Alipay Tourist Pass [...] There's a 5 percent fee from January 1.

 

I wonder how many foreign tourists realise that — when they can finally find somewhere that will take their Visa card — they will get a terrible exchange rate and then probably 11% added on top?  (Check your receipt!)

Suddenly 5% sounds pretty good, considering 4% is a typical credit card surcharge.  (Unless it's 5% on top of 4%?)

 

 

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889

No, as I understand it, Alipay will charge you 5 percent then you will also pay whatever your bank charges if any for foreign currency charges on your card, often 2 to 3 percent. At least this is the way it works when you use a foreign credit card to pay for Taobao purchases on Alipay, though the Alipay fee is less in this case, about 3 percent I recall.

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Flickserve

The Alipay system has also been reported in SCMP.

 

for me in HK, I can now use Alipay in China if I open a Bank of China account in China. For that I supply certain documents which get sent to China and then 3 weeks later, with a mainland China phone number I can use Alipay. Trouble is, I don’t go into mainland China very often to justify the cost of a new SIM card. Or perhaps I should turn it into an advantage and say to myself, because I can use Alipay, I should make the best of the opportunity and go into mainland China more often.....

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889

A pay-as-you-go Mainland number isn't that expensive, maybe 18RMB/month max basic fee, maybe cheaper. With that number you can receive SMSs free outside the Mainland, so you can buy stuff online, like train tickets on 12306. Or shop on Taobao and pick your stuff up at a convenience store in Shenzhen. (JD.com of course doesn't accept Alipay.)

 

I thought that that special HK BOC account linking with Mainland Alipay requires a HRP. Yes?

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Flickserve

I'm resident in Hong Kong so I think I would have to get through a Hong Kong carrier. Usually the plans in Hong Kong are hkd 100 and above but I haven't done a thorough search yet. Thanks for that information. It's pretty useful.

 

You are quite right about the HRP. Yes, I have one of those. Forgot to mention that.

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889

No, you can head up to Shenzhen and get a Mainland SIM with either your passport or HRP, depending on how you enter China. No hassle, unlike opening a bank account. But head to a customer service centre, not one of the small shops. Just make sure the SIM is compatible with your phone: Unicom almost always is, and China Mobile probably is.

 

Then from Hong Kong you can use your Alipay account to recharge the SIM, buy data, etc.

 

Working through Mainland sites like Taobao is a great way to improve your practical Chinese. Like scanning the QR code on a restaurant table with Alipay and then ordering and paying from the app.

 

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Flickserve

Oh really? Awesome. Thanks for that info. I have dual sim phone that would work really well for this sort of thing.

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Lu

The other day I read about the experiences of a Dutch China person, who tried this. He didn't manage to get all the way through the verification process, but he did get his card blocked by a Dutch bank, who noticed that suddenly there was this Chinese entity trying to get access to his credit card. Although I wonder if this would not have been easily avoided by simply informing the bank ahead of time that you're going to be in China for so-and-so long (on the other hand, this is an adult person who travels to China often enough, so one could assume he did think of that.)

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∞保罗∞

I tried it last thursday when the news broke with a mastercard and visa card. All cards are listed on my wechat account but when you try and actually top up - it says "Service busy try again later" - looks like they will need an update to it to work, also wouldn't be the most confident.

 

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889

I think Wechat just made a vapour ware announcement to keep up with Alipay. Like I said, Wechat wasted a lot of people's time on this before and here they are doing it again. Don't be a sucker and fall for this.

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