How to set up an Alipay account as a foreigner?

Updated: Jan 22, 2019 ehangzhou.gov.cn Print

In major Chinese cities, paying by cash is all but a thing of the past for many thanks to the convenience of mobile payment. You can pay with Alipay, or as it's known in Chinese, Zhifubao, China's leading mobile and online payment service. It makes paying for your goods easy, as all you have to do is simply input your payment password or scan the payment code on the Alipay app.

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What can you use Alipay for?

Shop on most the major Chinese retail websites, including Taobao and Tmall

Transfer money to your family/friends/acquaintances

Pay for cabs, train tickets and utility bills

Mobile top-ups

Pay for delivery food

In-store purchase for selected supermarkets, restaurants and vending machines

Check bank balance

Before you apply

Have the following ready:

Your passport number

Chinese phone number

Chinese bank account details

How to create an account

First, get the latest version of the app from the app store. Sign up with a valid mobile phone number. Alipay will send a text message with a confirmation code to the number, which you will have to input. Set a password on the next screen and the app will log you in automatically. 

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Open the app and you will see "Me" on the bottom right corner, then tap "My Account". If you haven't added a card before, tap "Add Card" next to the "My Cards" box.

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If this is your first time, you'll need to set a six digit code as your payment password. You'll be using this password anytime you pay online. 

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Next, you will be directed to a bank card information page. Enter your Chinese bank card number. Alipay will then display the name of your bank beside "Card Type". Fill in your name and other information. As for credit cards, users can add international Visa/Mastercard credit cards.

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Be sure to select the type of ID you have and enter in your personal information exactly the way it is registered at the bank. Alipay will send a text message containing a confirmation code to the phone number you've entered for your bank account. Enter this code to finish linking your bank card to Alipay.

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Your bank card will now appear in the "My Cards" tab. With that, you can make purchases with your phone just about anywhere in China. For payments, just tap the "Pay" button to load your personal QR code that can be scanned by friends and retailers.

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