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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 Oct 29, 17, 6:05 pm
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Opinion: without Alipay and Wechat Pay, you are screwed in Shanghai

This is just my personal opinion.
I couldn't another thread where this issue is being discussed.

China (esp. Shanghai) is moving away from a cash to a digital money economy.
While foreign cards were always a problem, cash was usually king - for a long time.
However, recently most shops prefer payment via Alipay and Wechat Pay. This is a problem for foreigners, because setting up Alipay and Wechat Pay is a hazzle.

I am not 100% sure about that, but usually you'll need a Chinese mobile number (not a big problem) and a Chinese bank account (a big problem) to fund the payments.

Without Wechat Pay and Alipay:
- You cannot hire any bikes in Shanghai
- You will have trouble ordering or finding a taxi
- Traders look in a weird way at you, when you try to pay with cash.

My fear is that the Chinese Government may do away with cash within the next 3-5 years.
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Old Oct 29, 17, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
This is just my personal opinion.
I couldn't another thread where this issue is being discussed.

China (esp. Shanghai) is moving away from a cash to a digital money economy.
While foreign cards were always a problem, cash was usually king - for a long time.
However, recently most shops prefer payment via Alipay and Wechat Pay. This is a problem for foreigners, because setting up Alipay and Wechat Pay is a hazzle.

I am not 100% sure about that, but usually you'll need a Chinese mobile number (not a big problem) and a Chinese bank account (a big problem) to fund the payments.

Without Wechat Pay and Alipay:
- You cannot hire any bikes in Shanghai
- You will have trouble ordering or finding a taxi
- Traders look in a weird way at you, when you try to pay with cash.

My fear is that the Chinese Government may do away with cash within the next 3-5 years.
China in one area has jumped ahead of the rest of the world with electronic payment, there is good and bad.

But I have yet to fail to be able to get something with good old hard cash. There are a lot of things where w/o AliPay/Wechat Pay like food/laundry delivery that are impossible, but not sure how many foreigners trying to live like a local.

I am there every other week, taxi drives, stores and most places still take cash. Sadly few places take MC/VISA/AMEX. I certainly don't feel screwed or limited in my shopping/purchasing/eating nor travel

I know a few places like company cafeteria that don't take cash but have their own "cards" that do allow you to buy a payment card.

Given the fact there is a huge amount of expat and foreigners I don't think Government nor business are that stupid to not enable foreigners to get about and spend $, now will it be as convenient as a local, maybe not.

From what I know getting a local bank account is getting harder, I should have done it 6 months ago, but you can still secure a local account with passport and once you got that you are golden with AliPay and Wechat Pay.

BTW at least with OFO they enable foreign CC, mine has been working.
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Old Oct 29, 17, 8:09 pm
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". . . but you can still secure a local account with passport and once you got that you are golden with AliPay and Wechat Pay."

I grit my teeth every time I read something like that. Even with a bank account it can be an extraordinary hassle.

It turns out only a few banks work for foreigners, even fewer if your name takes more than 20 spaces.

There's no help at all navigating through the various problems that can arise. You are on your own trying to resolve any problems.

Further, these payment sites create even more confusion by setting up both Mainland and non-Mainland versions, with no explanation how if at all they work together.

And finally, phone numbers get re-used in China, and if the number on your new SIM has already been used to register on a site, you'll be in a hopeless situation.

In any event, how did you pay by credit card on OFO?
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Old Oct 29, 17, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
[In any event, how did you pay by credit card on OFO?
Payment section of My Wallet in the OFO app allows you to enter credit card info.
OFO will take a deposit (IIRC it was 199RMB) which you can later request be refunded.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 12:18 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
". . . but you can still secure a local account with passport and once you got that you are golden with AliPay and Wechat Pay."

I grit my teeth every time I read something like that. Even with a bank account it can be an extraordinary hassle.

It turns out only a few banks work for foreigners, even fewer if your name takes more than 20 spaces.

There's no help at all navigating through the various problems that can arise. You are on your own trying to resolve any problems.

Further, these payment sites create even more confusion by setting up both Mainland and non-Mainland versions, with no explanation how if at all they work together.

And finally, phone numbers get re-used in China, and if the number on your new SIM has already been used to register on a site, you'll be in a hopeless situation.

In any event, how did you pay by credit card on OFO?
I don't disagree, I hear with the new currency tightening increasing hard. You need to "know" someone who "knows" someone or else get some documentation showing both local residence address and employment blah blah blah, but like almost everything, if you "know" someone. I may exercise that person this coming month, let you know how that works out

Originally Posted by mrjay View Post
Payment section of My Wallet in the OFO app allows you to enter credit card info.
OFO will take a deposit (IIRC it was 199RMB) which you can later request be refunded.
Ditto for me, seemed to work for my AMEX and VISA both US cards.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 1:45 am
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Foreign cards can be linked to Alipay. Commission is to be charged.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 2:10 am
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I guess I'm just particularly unlucky.

Using the Chinese Ofo Android app, there's no option for credit card under Wallet, only options for payment by Alipay or Wechat. Indeed, the instructions say just that, "充值方式为微信、支付宝和Apple pay."

Alipay would not take my non-Mainland credit card. And my Mainland debit card works only with a Chinese ID number.

And looking at the fine print, it seems Ofo has a 12-65 age limit.

I'm glad this works for some, but really, the stress there has to be on some. For the rest of us, it's a time-wasting mess.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 4:54 am
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If you can get the international OFO app, it allows foreign credit cards of course. I set up my CSP for it while in China.

Even better, there are some problems with the international app in China -- in four months of being in China, riding OFO daily, sometimes for as long as an hour, I was never once charged. I'm not sure if it was a promo code I had once loaded for a free couple RMB to each ride or an incompatibility to understand I had rented a bike, but it was a nice surprise.

I did actually contact OFO support about it and what I thought was a related matter, and they advised that the international app has issues in mainland China.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 5:13 am
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You can also have someone send you money to your wallet.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 7:14 am
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At one point I downloaded the international app but couldn't find anything there that assured me it could be used in China. It looked like it might only be for Birmingham or some such. I didn't want to put money on it without some assurances. Also, I thought credit card charges could only be refunded within a few months, so I'm not sure how the security deposit gets back to you after a couple of years, say.

Too, the Chinese app has a very cheap one-year plan. Not sure I saw anything like that on the international app.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 7:19 am
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I downloaded the OFO international app in China but from the US app store. I added the deposit and 10 RMB credit, and then when I wanted a bike, I would scan and unlock. The only issue I had was that the GPS system didn't work, so I couldn't locate bikes using the map.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 9:33 pm
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Originally Posted by chipmaster View Post
China in one area has jumped ahead of the rest of the world with electronic payment, there is good and bad.

But I have yet to fail to be able to get something with good old hard cash. There are a lot of things where w/o AliPay/Wechat Pay like food/laundry delivery that are impossible, but not sure how many foreigners trying to live like a local.

I am there every other week, taxi drives, stores and most places still take cash. Sadly few places take MC/VISA/AMEX. I certainly don't feel screwed or limited in my shopping/purchasing/eating nor travel

I know a few places like company cafeteria that don't take cash but have their own "cards" that do allow you to buy a payment card.

Given the fact there is a huge amount of expat and foreigners I don't think Government nor business are that stupid to not enable foreigners to get about and spend $, now will it be as convenient as a local, maybe not.

From what I know getting a local bank account is getting harder, I should have done it 6 months ago, but you can still secure a local account with passport and once you got that you are golden with AliPay and Wechat Pay.

BTW at least with OFO they enable foreign CC, mine has been working.
Yeah. We were there earlier this year and I encountered no problems other than figuring out the WiFi procedures. (The usual approach is you provide a phone number and get back a text message either with a password or that logs you in. I don't read Chinese and my wife is sufficiently non-tech that she's not a very good translator for such things.)
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Old Oct 30, 17, 10:17 pm
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My biggest problem is that they don't allow foreigners to use Alipay or WeChat Pay outside of Mainland China. I'd love to be able to pay for things this way in HK or SE Asia where Alipay at least seems to be widely accepted, but for some reason they block me from doing this.

In China, I agree, if you don't have Alipay or WeChat Pay then you're setting yourself up for more hassle.
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Old Oct 31, 17, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
My biggest problem is that they don't allow foreigners to use Alipay or WeChat Pay outside of Mainland China. I'd love to be able to pay for things this way in HK or SE Asia where Alipay at least seems to be widely accepted, but for some reason they block me from doing this.

In China, I agree, if you don't have Alipay or WeChat Pay then you're setting yourself up for more hassle.
I assume it's due to the currency exchange controls the government puts on foreigners. Similar to the US$500(or equivalent)/day limit on cashing out RMB.

I agree that it's a nuisance, particularly since they have my bank card, and therefore my bank details, on file. It would be good if Alipay/WeChat would let you at least have the US$500 equivalent per day. Would cover most cases of mobile payment.
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Old Oct 31, 17, 8:48 am
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For Alipay at least, you can buy vouchers/gift card type things from convenience stores, small shops, possibly even post offices that have a code. You then can enter the code on the Alipay website and load the money into your account that way. There is a 1% handling fee.

I don't think there is a similar method for Wechat. Of course, you can just pay cash to someone and get them to directly transfer money from them to you, which works for either app. Less messy than the Alipay voucher method as long as that person is trustworthy and comfortable with it.
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