How to Set Up & Use AliPay in China on Your Smartphone

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!

 / Mar 20, 2018

Chinese society is embracing technology in all aspects of their lives, including moving more and more toward a paperless currency.  In China, Alipay and WeChat pay rule, and it seems most everyone uses their Smartphones for payment.  But that doesn't mean expats living in China have to miss out on this convenience.  To help expats get started, we have broken down for you how all the steps to set up your Alipay and make life a little easier for you in China. 

** Watch the video from our friend Lena, and read on below to discover specific instructions / screenshots for setting this up **


Learn more about Banking in China - What you need to know

** If you prefer to use WeChat, here is our post on How to Set Up WeChat Wallet to Pay with Your Phone in China

You can learn How to Rent a Bike in China with Your Smart Phone!

Let's Get Started!

6 steps to set up your Alipay account

It is recommended that you add a Chinese bank card to your Alipay. If not, you can pay through your Alipay balance. For unverified Alipay users, if monthly transfer value is less than RMB 500 (including RMB 500), it is free. If monthly transfer value is more than RMB 500, Alipay will charge 1% of the exceeded part.

  1. Tap “Me and find Bank Cards   

           2. Tap “Add Cards”

           3. Enter your name and card number

Name, passport ID, phone number. The name you add has to be the name that your Chinese bank has on file. Make sure the bank has your current phone number in its record. Change the “ID Type” to “passport”and enter your passport number.


  • You are only allowed to bind one person’s bank account with each Alipay account.

  • China Guangfa Bank (Debit Card), PSBC and Citi Bank (Credit Card) don’t support using your passport as a form of ID. If you find that you can’t change the ID type to a passport, you may need to change a bank account.

    4. Add your Chinese mobile phone number. 

        ** The mobile phone number you add MUST to be the number that your bank has on file.

         5. Enter the confirmation code. 

    You will receive an SMS with a code which should be 6-digits. Just enter it and tap “Next”

    6. Set a payment password.

    Set a 6-digits security password to verify payments. It’s very important so you’d better choose an easy one and don’t forget it.


    You can bind more than one bank account to your Alipay.

Top up & Withdrawl

Tap “balance” and then tap “Top Up” to transfer money from your  bank card to your Alipay balance. Or tap “Withdrawal to do the opposite.


Alipay charges a 0.1% commission when you make a withdrawal


In terms of Alipay, there are three main ways to transfer money to other people.

  1. Transfer to Friends

    Tap “transfer” in a dialogue to send money to your friend.

  1. Transfer by scanning QR code.

    When transacting, people who receive the money will provide you with their Alipay QR codes. Scan the QR codes to transfer money.

  1. Pay Vendor

    If you find this Alipay pay logo at the cashier or in a store, it is possible for you to pay the vendor by providing your Alipay QR code.

     a.  Tap “pay” and show the QR code to the cashier.

     b. The Cashier will input the amount and scan your code.

     c. Your expense will be automatically deducted from your Alipay account


Double check the amount of money deducted from your Alipay every time after the cashier scans your QR code.


Receive money by showing QR code

You can receive money from others by providing your receiving QR code.

As can be seen from the following picture, tap “Collect” then your QR code will be available to the others

Receive money by Go Dutch

  1. Tap “ Go Dutch”

2. Input the total amount of money you would like to collect and select the number of people, finally, tap “Initiate collection”.

Check the Transaction Limit

The transaction limit depends on the bank you are using. You could check the transaction limit in your “Bank Cards”.

“Me”→ Band Cards → press any of your bank card → “Transfer” → “Limit”.

Now You Can use AliPay Across China With Your Smartphone!

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Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!