Payment methods - cash vs electronic

Old Oct 17th, 2018, 11:42 PM
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Payment methods - cash vs electronic

Hi All,

Just wanting to know your experiences and recommendations as to an e-payment platform for China. Seems most places, including small stalls and shops, will only accept some form of electronic payment (not credit card, but a tap using your mobile phone).

Google says Alipay, Union Pay or Tencent (part of WeChat) seems to be the ones, but several people seem to indicate that there are issues with pairing an overseas credit card with the account for payment. I will be using Visa or MC, both from Australian banks.

Any feedback appreciated.

Thanks
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Old Oct 17th, 2018, 11:56 PM
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???
I used Chinese currency, and never had a problem.
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Old Oct 18th, 2018, 12:10 AM
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I understand that China has gone in for electronic payments in a big way. I'm sure you could still use Chinese currency obtained from an ATM, but any of the major electronic platforms (like ApplePay) should work. The only problems I can imagine would be pairing an overseas credit card with a Chinese platform like Tencent. I don't know Allpay or Union Pay - where are they based?
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Old Oct 18th, 2018, 06:24 AM
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What you heard is correct, even beggars take electronic payments.
Forget ApplePay. I have to assume that the above posters have not been to China or not recently. This has been progressing very quickly.
If you decide to set up your phone for this, you should use Wechat as you can do so with an international credit card. Very few places would not accept cash or some may not have change. Apparently since I was there last McDonalds at the Beijing airport only accepts electronic payment. To set up electronic payment on your phone is not a must but make sure not to only carry large bills.
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Old Oct 18th, 2018, 07:29 AM
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We were just in China last month. Of course cash is fine but I did see many places did not accept a cc though not all. Yes electronic payment thru a phone app was more common. reviewing my cc statement I saw 6-7 charges outside of our hotels. Hope this helps.

Taxis do not take anything but cash.

I suggest getting some sort of language translation app for your smart phone and if you do take a taxi say from your hotel be sure you have a hotel business card in Chinese to show to the driver to get back.

Last edited by jacketwatch; Oct 18th, 2018 at 07:36 AM.
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Old Oct 18th, 2018, 10:01 PM
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I also was in China a short while ago and was taken by surprise to note that electronic payments are now accepted everywhere, often I had trouble using a credit card or cash.

Even small payments of a few yuans are done by mobile phone. I even saw a couple of roadside entertainers in Beijing who had a sign that only mobile donations can be given. No hat or a box there to collect small change.

This experience was a bit difficult as in the past visits we used both credit cards and cash easily and did not see mobile phone payments.
But China is changing so rapidly that I feel US is left behind since I do not see mobile phone payments are very popular here. As far as I see during my travels around the US a large majority of the people are still using credit cards.
I have no suggestion to help the OP. But maybe some other Fodor friends may have advice. I also need to learn about the mobile phone payments in China for my future trips.
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Old Oct 19th, 2018, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post

Taxis do not take anything but cash.
They take electronic payment with the phone and payment with the Yikatong card (subway card).
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Old Oct 19th, 2018, 09:44 PM
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Thanks all for your thoughts. On doing further research, I have found that one needs a China-bank issued credit card to be connected to any electronic form of payment at present. Wechat payment system (using Tencent product) apparently will allow international cards in future, but a definite timeframe is not known.

In the meantime, I guess carry cash and *hope* the small establishments that we need take cash; and pre-pay big expenses (hotels etc).

At this stage, also unsure if "foreign" forms of epayment are accepted anywhere. eg. ApplePay, Samsung Pay, eWallet and so on.
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Old Oct 20th, 2018, 08:10 AM
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On the flyertalk forum and TripAdvisor, several people reported linking their Chinese electronic payment to the foreign credit card. Results seem to vary. One poster reported successfully linking his AMEX card while another could not do it. Possible one did not follow the steps properly.
One platform that is really useful is DIDI. Their app actually translates automatically all communications (done in writing) with the driver. Considering that getting a taxi has become nearly impossible without an app, this is one to look into.
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