How to Set Up Alipay

December 03, 2019

Outside of WeChat itself, Alipay is among the most popular and useful Chinese apps you could have. Not only can you use Alipay to make your life easier in China, but now you can also use Alipay in select countries and stores abroad as well! Here you can find out how to set up Alipay to get takeout, top up your phone, pay your bills, book travel tickets, and so much more!

All you need is:

  1. Your passport,
  2. a phone number,
  3. and a Chinese bank account (registered under your Chinese phone number)
    -OR-
    a foreign credit card 

Setting up Alipay can be done in three easy steps:

How to Set Up Alipay with a Chinese Bank Card

Step 1: Set Up Alipay

Download the app from your preferred app store. Input your phone number. You will receive a verification code via text message. If you are prompted with a User Agreement, click “Accept” (同意).If your Alipay is in Chinese, you can switch it to English if you prefer. Simply go to 我的 (Me),then click on 通用 (General).Finally, select 多语言 (More Languages).

Step 2: Add a Card

In Alipay, go to the “Me” section. Select “Bank Cards” from the list of options.Click “Add bank card”.Input your bank card number.Input all the required information. Make sure you input your name exactly as it appears on your bank records!You will then receive a verification code via text message. You can then set your six-digit Alipay payment password.

Step 3: Go Shopping

That’s it, you’re all done!

How to Set Up Alipay with an International Card

For this you will use Tour Pass, a mini-program within Alipay. It provides a virtual bank card from Bank of Shanghai, which you can top up via your international bank or credit card.In order to use Alipay with an international card, you will need to download the international version of the app.

Step 1: Tour Pass

If the Tour Pass option does not appear on your Alipay home screen, you can find it under “More” or simply search for it in the search bar.Open Tour Pass.

Step 2: Add a Card

Select the amount you wish to load (minimum 100RMB). Fill in the information. You will need to upload a photo of your passport information page for verification purposes.
Click “Next”, and then “Confirm & Pay”.

Step 3: Go Shopping

That’s it, you’re all done! You can now pay via QR code or mini-program (Methods 1, 2, and 4 under “Ways to Pay” below).

Important Information

Note that the Tour Pass is valid for 90 days, with a maximum of 2000RMB for the 90-day period.(At the time of writing, there have been unconfirmed reports of Tour Pass users who are able to load more than 2000RMB during the 90-day period. It is yet unknown if this is a new permanent feature of Tour Pass.)At the end of the 90-day period, any unused funds will be returned to your international card.The Tour Pass function does not allow transfers to friends (see Method 3 under “Ways to Pay” below).

Ways to Pay

1. Scan the QR Code

If a vendor offers a payment QR for you to scan, simply open Alipay and click “Scan” at the top.

2. Payment Code

Stores or restaurants will occasionally scan your payment QR code instead. To access this QR, click “Pay” at the top of your Alipay.

3. Transfer to a Friend

Click on “Transfer”.Choose either “To Alipay Account” or “To Bank Card”. Enter the relevant information, set the amount you wish to send, and click “Confirm”.

4. In-app Mini-Programs

Book flights, buy movie tickets, top up your cell phone, and more! Fair warning: most of these mini-programs are in Chinese.

5. Online

If you have Alipay, it will automatically connect to Taobao. Download Taobao and input your phone number (use the same number you used for Alipay). You will get an authentication code via text message.After that, you are ready to shop, shop, shop! Your payment password for Taobao is the same as for Alipay.

Want more tips on life in China? Check out these articles on How to Set Up WeChat Pay and Going to the Hospital in China!

Have any other questions on how to ease your transition to China? Leave us a comment!

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