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Opinion: without Alipay and Wechat Pay, you are screwed in Shanghai

Opinion: without Alipay and Wechat Pay, you are screwed in Shanghai

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Old Aug 13, 19, 3:12 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
So, you couldn't use Mobike, vending machines, and had issues when attempting to pay for 小笼包 with 100s? And, your conclusion is to simply write off the place?
I couldn't use a lot of things between the lack of a readily accepted payment method and the fact I don't speak or read chinese (using the term 小笼包 is a nice way to show that you apparently have language skills).
My conclusion is to write off the place because I did not enjoy visiting it (urban sprawls are not my preferred habitats) and that even a business trip is a lot more hassle than most other places. The combination of payment, language and a huge cultural difference makes it just not worth it to me.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by wijnands View Post
My conclusion is to write off the place because I did not enjoy visiting it (urban sprawls are not my preferred habitats)
You're probably best off staying away from Asia if you don't like urban megacities.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by Kilian Zoll View Post
You're probably best off staying away from Asia if you don't like urban megacities.
Very possible. Did enjoy Bangkok but that still feels like a city.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by Kilian Zoll View Post
In most places in China cash works absolutely fine in 90% of cases. In places like Shenzhen things are changing very quickly though.
Totally agree, I'd even put it higher than 90%.

I spend a lot of time in Shenzhen, basically every other month. I do have a bank account with WeChat attached and only in the past year have I embraced using WeChat pay everywhere. Before that, I was almost exclusively cash. I still whip out cash on occasion without any issue. The only issue I've had with cash in the past is not having small bills for the taxi drivers. The ATMs give out 100RMB notes and the taxi drivers hate breaking them. If that's all you have they will. Small vendors on the street would prefer WeChat pay, but they still don't want to lose a sale. I've never had them refuse cash. I've paid many restaurants with cash, some of the better restaurants will even take a US Visa card. Sometimes the staff doesn't even know that that their card reader will take it, I usually ask them to try and it works pretty often. I like trying to use a US credit card as it means less cash I need to withdraw from the ATM to replenish the RMB in my bank account or pocket.

Maybe my experience is a little outdated as I've largely switched to using WeChat pay these days.

I've seen some casual restaurants moving to a WeChat only system for ordering and I assume payment. Need to scan a QR code to open some WeChat app to order your food. I don't like those systems as they are usually Chinese only and my WeChat is sometimes flaky with these apps maybe because I have a foreign WeChat account.

I'm kind of an old fart, so I don't really see using WeChat pay or any other pay systems (ApplePay, etc.) as being necessarily faster than cash. It takes a bit of time to get the QR code up, in my estimation roughly the same amount of time for me to whip a few notes out of my pocket. Experienced cashiers can make change very fast. Maybe contactless payment is faster than having to raise a QR code but I haven't tried it yet. Like I said, I'm an old fart who always carries around enough cash for a just in case situation.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:38 am
  #155  
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Originally Posted by wijnands View Post
I couldn't use a lot of things between the lack of a readily accepted payment method and the fact I don't speak or read chinese (using the term 小笼包 is a nice way to show that you apparently have language skills)
I was operating under the assumption that you could read ~1000 Chinese characters, or have a translation app on your phone.

Following is our 小笼包 thread the 小龙包 (soup dumplings) thread
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Old Aug 14, 19, 10:07 am
  #156  
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Yes! Places -- usually local chain eating places -- without a menu that point you to a Wechat QR code taped to a corner of the table that opens a mini-app from which you order and pay. I suspect this approach is going to spread quickly. So easy to add or delete menu items, and raise prices. No need for staff to take orders. The printed menu may soon become obsolete in China.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
Yes! Places -- usually local chain eating places -- without a menu that point you to a Wechat QR code taped to a corner of the table that opens a mini-app from which you order and pay. I suspect this approach is going to spread quickly. So easy to add or delete menu items, and raise prices. No need for staff to take orders. The printed menu may soon become obsolete in China.
Iím traveling next month, and again in October. Some buddies of mine have commented on the same. I guess thatís the waiver the future. Some commentary is Cash is still king but I think thatís fading quickly, especially in the younger generations
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Old Aug 14, 19, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
(Indeed, to date it doesn't seem possible to open the NFC function on a Mainland UnionPay card if the account was opened with a passport. Those with different experience please post.)
You mean tapping a card like PayPass? It works for me on my Chinese HSBC UnionPay credit card. The same card also works via Apple Pay.

Of course I'm pretty sure a foreign issued UnionPay card won't work with Apple Pay as the Apple Pay website clearly lists the supported financial institutions and they are all on the mainland.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 11:54 pm
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No, you need to read that sentence in the context of the previous sentence: I'm talking about linking your card and your NFC-equipped phone so you can pay by waving your phone instead of your card. Doesn't link for me, and it looks like the problem is my card wasn't opened with a Chinese ID. But maybe others have a different experience.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 3:57 am
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I've seen those QR codes taped to tables in the lower end restaurants. In itself it offers an opportunity to deal with non-chiinese speakers in a minimal hassle way for local staff. It would mean offering the app to foreigners and adding some (machine) translations. .

I've paid with cash in a restaurant where it was clear I was the first to do so in quite some time. They had to think where they kept the change..

I'm not against using apps, after all that's the way the chinese seem to want to do their business. All I'm saying is that there's currently no option to participate as an occasional visitor. That combined with the fact that many merchants, in the areas I've seen, very rarely conduct cash business any more and soon it will become like Sweden where cash is rare and cashless stores become normal
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Old Aug 15, 19, 4:19 am
  #161  
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Originally Posted by wijnands View Post
I've seen those QR codes taped to tables in the lower end restaurants. In itself it offers an opportunity to deal with non-chiinese speakers in a minimal hassle way for local staff. It would mean offering the app to foreigners and adding some (machine) translations. .

I've paid with cash in a restaurant where it was clear I was the first to do so in quite some time. They had to think where they kept the change..

I'm not against using apps, after all that's the way the chinese seem to want to do their business. All I'm saying is that there's currently no option to participate as an occasional visitor. That combined with the fact that many merchants, in the areas I've seen, very rarely conduct cash business any more and soon it will become like Sweden where cash is rare and cashless stores become normal
This (bolded part) is actually quite doable, but I'm struggling to see a viable revenue model. Basically, the local restaurants near me don't receive many foreign customers, so they certainly wouldn't finance such an app. With regard to making it universal, who would you collect money from?

For now, I dare say that the best course of action is to join our Wechat group, and post photos of the menu board. Someone will reliably advise you on what to order within 2 minutes.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 7:00 am
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"...It would mean offering the app to foreigners and adding some (machine) translations. ..." - There is certainly no lack of apps doing this using your phone camera.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 3:07 am
  #163  
 
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Originally Posted by JPDM View Post
"...It would mean offering the app to foreigners and adding some (machine) translations. ..." - There is certainly no lack of apps doing this using your phone camera.
Yeah.. are you deliberately misunderstanding me? Or am I explaining myself wrong?
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Old Aug 16, 19, 6:55 am
  #164  
 
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
No, you need to read that sentence in the context of the previous sentence: I'm talking about linking your card and your NFC-equipped phone so you can pay by waving your phone instead of your card. Doesn't link for me, and it looks like the problem is my card wasn't opened with a Chinese ID. But maybe others have a different experience.
Well it works for me with HSBC China so I guess it depends on your bank. Mind you I have only tried Apple Pay so YMMV with Android phones, e.g., Huawei Pay, etc.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 7:13 am
  #165  
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On Android I can't seem to get NFC to work either on my bank's app or on the UnionPay app, though QR codes are not a problem. Bank app offers only Chinese ID as ID option when trying to link, not passport. Hard to unravel where the problem lies without spending two hours at the bank.
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