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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 Jul 6, 19, 10:19 am
  #106  
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I should know more about this stuff because I've been working closely with tencent for the past five years, but I must admit that foreign users are an exceptionally low priority.

A few more thoughts:
1. The only advantage foreign wx accounts have over PRC accounts is the ability to view a handful of foreign official accounts, which falls into the "whoopty do" category

2. PRC accounts may be required for features like payment and WiFi, but this is something you should research in more focused forums, like thebeijinger (while it's true that most of us are heavy wx users, we typically only set things up once or twice)

3. Getting (and registering) a SIM is much more of a pita now than it was in years' past, but consider the following:
-many WiFi networks only send registration codes to local numbers
-didi, mobike, elema, etc require local numbers
-there are now ridiculously cheap plans available; I think I pay y20 per month, and simply buy minutes/data using WeChat Pay

​​​

Last edited by moondog; Jul 6, 19 at 10:27 am
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Old Jul 6, 19, 10:19 am
  #107  
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Biut no harm in trying! Worst is, it doesn't work.

(Obviously I got the direction reversed above: your friend would let you use his bank card on your WeChat account.)
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Old Jul 6, 19, 12:32 pm
  #108  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
-didi, mobike, elema, etc require local numbers​​​
Not sure about this. I've been using DiDi and Mobike just fine with my HK number. One added benefit of using DiDi with HK number is drivers hardly ever call. With local number, the drivers will always call to verify. HK number I get called very rarely and the drivers use the app to communicate so I get some built-in translation.

Very typically after being assigned a DiDi driver, I'll get the automated message - Is your GPS location accurate? (or whatever the canned message is). Then I quickly reply with canned message - My GPS location is accurate, please pick me up according to the GPS location. That seems to satisfy their need to know that the pickup will happen. When I used to have a local number, I'd always get the call right after the driver is assigned and since I can't speak drivers would sometimes cancel on me. Although that's before I knew the trick of not answering the call and then responding with canned message - I can't answer the phone right now, please send me a message. On the rare occasion the driver tries calling on my HK number, I just do that or send the "My location is accurate ..." message.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 12:45 pm
  #109  
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But if you sign-up for Mobike through WeChat with a Mainland number (and Mainland bank card), you don't have to pay a deposit. Is that also the case if you're using a Hong Kong number?
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Old Jul 6, 19, 1:10 pm
  #110  
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Originally Posted by synthkeys View Post
Not sure about this. I've been using DiDi and Mobike just fine with my HK number. One added benefit of using DiDi with HK number is drivers hardly ever call. With local number, the drivers will always call to verify. HK number I get called very rarely and the drivers use the app to communicate so I get some built-in translation.

Very typically after being assigned a DiDi driver, I'll get the automated message - Is your GPS location accurate? (or whatever the canned message is). Then I quickly reply with canned message - My GPS location is accurate, please pick me up according to the GPS location. That seems to satisfy their need to know that the pickup will happen. When I used to have a local number, I'd always get the call right after the driver is assigned and since I can't speak drivers would sometimes cancel on me. Although that's before I knew the trick of not answering the call and then responding with canned message - I can't answer the phone right now, please send me a message. On the rare occasion the driver tries calling on my HK number, I just do that or send the "My location is accurate ..." message.
Those of us with mainland phone numbers get the exact same message (in the phone system language), and reply choices. And, if we reply fast enough, drivers typically don't bother calling (i.e. they also prefer to be anti-social). That having been said, when arranging pickups in crowded areas, voice calls can work wonders, and I don't want the prospect of making the guy spend $0.10 to call HK to discourage him.

On a slightly tangential note, I try to avoid pickups in crowded areas whenever possible. For example, when I need a ride from the Jing'an Sogo (久光), I typically walk one block north or south.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 6:05 pm
  #111  
 
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Regarding Alipay & WeChat (have neither), I had a restaurant in Shanghai (one of the malls, so many not sure which one it was) unable to accept cash for an order of "siu lung bau," because they couldn't change a $100 bill. It'd be great if there's a way for foreigners to use these mobile pay things when in China.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 7:50 pm
  #112  
 
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Friend of mine just sent me 100 RMB as a test, WeChat asked for my credit card information so I loaded in all my details for my American card with home address phone numbers email etc. I thought it was going to take but then another pop-up screen came up and said that due to regulations I need to register a China-based card to use the WeChat pay. I refunded the money back to the sender and let him know. So that workaround is not actually working… Any other thoughts?
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Old Jul 6, 19, 8:10 pm
  #113  
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I've said it time and again here but the message never seems to get through: you are wasting your time trying that approach.

I don't know whether the other, "Friends and Family" approach I suggested will work, but you can try it. If it works your friend's card will show as a payment source option on your WeChat.
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Old Jul 6, 19, 8:28 pm
  #114  
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It appears that we've come full circle back to the "get a bank account" strategy. Sure, there are horror stories about some banks that create ridiculous hurdles for foreigners, but it's worth spending the better part of a morning getting completely set up (phone, bank, tenpay, alipay).
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Old Jul 6, 19, 8:46 pm
  #115  
 
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
I've said it time and again here but the message never seems to get through: you are wasting your time trying that approach.

I don't know whether the other, "Friends and Family" approach I suggested will work, but you can try it. If it works your friend's card will show as a payment source option on your WeChat.
Yes, that’s Plan B! I just wanted to try this to see for myself, it didn’t take much time at all… Nothing ventured nothing gained
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Old Jul 12, 19, 1:54 am
  #116  
 
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
Both Alipay and WeChat now have options to let a relative or friend directly use your bank card for payments, including payments with QR codes. You attach them to your account and then set a monthly spending limit. On Alipay this is called 亲密付. On WeChat it's called Relative Cards (on WeChat look under Me > WeChat Pay > Wallet).

This may -- may -- be a way of allowing trustworthy friends visiting China to use QR codes on their phones for payments, if it doesn't require the attached friend or relative to be name verified. But I don't whether this is the case. I also don't know whether it works with Alipay or WeChat accounts opened with non-Mainland mobile numbers.

Perhaps some guinea pigs will try this out and report back.
You inspired me. My brother-in-law is returning in two weeks. Last time I was able to send him money to spend but now it's prompting him for local bank account details as we know. He tried creating an AliPay wallet but it doesn't even list UK numbers for the initial SMS authentication (most other countries are on the list).

Anyway, I looked in WeChat after reading your post and there it is. I will attempt to create this for him when he arrives in two weeks so I can see what happens in both accounts.

I'll report back.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 1:56 am
  #117  
 
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Thanks ! Curious to know how it works out..
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Old Jul 12, 19, 12:29 pm
  #118  
 
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One thing that I noticed in Shanghai: if you want to get incense at the Jing'an Temple, you have to use a machine that only accepts WeChat Pay. Given my predicament, another foreigner offered to share their incense with me.

That was most definitely a bummer.
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