Alipay for Foreigners: A Simple Guide

If you’re in China, you’ll find that there is a lot of freedom when it comes to integrating finances with our smartphones.

Are you a foreigner that is looking for a way to join in the fun? Alipay is a great option to consider as it uses a “Tour Pass” feature that will give foreigners a chance to use this widely used app in a lot of China, just like the locals do.

If you’re looking to go cashless and enjoy convenience in the form of a smartphone app, here is everything you need to know about Alipay as a foreigner.

What Can You Do With Alipay And Where?

So, why is Alipay, particularly for foreigners, and what should you know about it in its financial freedoms?  Quite a bit, actually! You’ll be able to do any of the following (and much more).

Alipay for Foreigners What can you do with Alipay and where

Send money to loved ones:

Alipay firstly allows you to send money to loved ones anywhere in China. You’ll be able to have it done quickly and safely all within the app for them to receive and used as they need to. Great when splitting bills, it’s well-used and loved.

Pay utility bills:

From landlords and hotel merchants, to other utilities that you have while travelling and staying in China, almost all of them are encouraged to be paid directly through Alipay. It’s great to have everything so widely available all from one simple screen on your phone!

Buy airline tickets:

When travelling to and from China (as well as within, should you wish to), you’ll also be able to buy airline tickets to get all information easily made available to you in everything from prices to payment to confirmation of the payment.

One of the best details is that, unlike Western smartphone apps that are out there, Alipay is not just used in one or two spots. It’s used just about everywhere in China and you’ll be able to use it widely to pay for everything in stores, your hotel or hostel, and more. It’s certainly a modern convenience that you’ll enjoy in even those smaller parts of China, as this is used widely by Chinese nationals.

How To Set Up Alipay

It’s great, right? So, now let’s take a moment and learn how to set up Alipay so that you can get in on the convenience and stress-free experience in going cashless.

It’s so easy you’ll be at it in no time. All you need in order to make this work for you is a bank card, a passport or visa that are both valid and not expired, and an overseas phone number. Once you’ve got those, here the steps:

Alipay for Foreigners how to set up Alipay

1. Download Alipay:

From the international version of the app store, download Alipay onto your device, making sure that your device is up to date with software for the best experience.

2. Enter your phone number:

Enter the international phone number as it was given to you when purchasing your phone and number.

3. Select the international version:

Specify that you want the international version of Alipay (rather than using the native version to Chinese users)

4. Choose Tour Pass:

Select the option for “Tour Pass”, which will take you to a properly designed part that helps you set up as a foreigner.

5. Load funds into the app:

Now you’ll need to load funds directly into the app, so decide how much you want to enter into it.

6. Enter your passport information:

Next you’ll enter your passport or visa information as requested (this helps make sure that everyone is valid and using Alipay with no hassles or swindles).

7. Enter your bank card information:

Lastly, enter your bank card information and make sure it is accurate (this is used to pay as well as load more information) to your information back home for billing.

How To Use Alipay To Pay For Things

Now that you’ve got Alipay ready to go, you’ll want to learn how to use Alipay professionally so that you don’t need to worry about the actual working of the app itself when you are out and about. The good news is that it is impressively easy so that you aren’t dealing with complex systems or features.

Option 1: Merchants scan your QR code:

how to pay with Alipay Merchants scan your QR code

When you get to the sales counter, you can display your QR code in the Alipay app and the merchant will scan it using their system to do so. This charges the right amount and all you need to do is hold your phone out.

Option 2: You scan their QR code:

how to pay with Alipay You scan their QR code

The second option is that they can show you their merchant QR code and you can scan it yourself. For those that tend to enjoy that approach, make sure you know to ask for their code and that you have your phone ready to scan it. Try a few practice runs, too!

It’s as simple as that! When paying for something using Alipay, you’ll find it’s not only the most convenient option, it’s the way that both large and small vendors expect and are ready for. Since it’s used by locals, Alipay for foreigners works essentially the same way and is the preferred method especially when there’s a language barrier or cultural one to deal with as an inexperienced traveller.

Enjoy Your Cashless Experience!

Enjoy the convenience, safety and freedom of working with Alipay by getting familiar with the Tour Pass and understanding how to put your funds into it (easy for those with PayPal experience). It’s a wonderful way to look and feel like a “normal” person in China and it’s also a great way to really get rid of frustrating cash and counting and get everything exact every single time with no hassle, stress or embarrassment.

It’s very easy to see why it’s the best option for foreigners of all kinds! Try it out and see for yourself what’s so great about it — you’ll be impressed.

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