22 February 2020

An elderly asian man hugging his grandchildren all laughing

In China, digital payments are replacing card and cash payments. Over 90% of the population now use mobile payment systems!

Until recently, visitors to China struggled to find a way to pay for goods and services online. Most mobile payment apps required users to have a Chinese bank account and a local mobile phone number to start making mobile payments.

Now, for the first time, mobile payments app Alipay is helping visitors to China start making mobile payments in the country when they sign up for their new 90-day tour pass.

International money transfer experts WorldRemit have also recently partnered with Alipay, allowing Chinese nationals living overseas to send money straight to the Alipay e-wallets of their families back home.

Tip: Visitors to Hong Kong can use an alternative version of the app called Alipay HK.

What is Alipay?

Alipay is the most popular e-Wallet service in Asia. In China, millions of transactions are processed using Alipay each day! Residents use Alipay's digital wallet on their smartphone to quickly and conveniently make payments in-store, online, and by money transfer.

How does Alipay work?

The Alipay e-wallet app allows users to save their debit or credit card details to the app and then use their mobile phone to make payments, instead of cash or a bank card.

Alipay’s e-wallet is widely used by those living in China for all kinds of different transactions, from paying in-store and online, to receiving international money transfers from relatives overseas.

It is now also an excellent choice for tourists and business travellers visiting China, who can sign up and get a 90-day pass to use the service!

How to make an online payment with Alipay?

Making online payments with Alipay on your smartphone is easy. If a merchant accepts Alipay, you can select it as a payment method, enter your pin code and complete the payment.

If you're using a desktop computer, Alipay will ask you to scan a QR code with your phone to confirm the details and enter your pin.


Do this to start using Alipay's 90-day tour pass service:

  1. Download the Alipay app onto your smartphone from the app store and sign up for an account. It is free to sign up for an account with Alipay. You can then add and save your credit and debit card details within your account to start making mobile payments.

  2. Verify your identity, phone number and bank information.

  3. Use the app to download and buy prepaid cards using your international credit or debit card.

You can top up with a minimum of 100 yuan and a maximum of 2000 yuan at any one time. You can top up again as required.

Chinese citizens can send money overseas by selecting the international transfer option within Alipay.

What are the advantages of using Alipay?

The mobile payment industry is booming and the advantages of using an e-wallet make it easy to understand why!


Here are some of the advantages, just to name a few:

1. Safe

When you use Alipay, there is no need to carry around bank cards or large amounts of cash.

2. Fast and convenient

Enter your pin code to make a payment online, no repetitive filling out of personal info and card details for every transaction.

3. Widely recognised

Alipay is China's most popular e-Wallet service, closely followed by WebChat Pay.

4. Secure

A pin code is needed to authorise every transaction. If you have a smartphone with touch ID feature, then you can also use your fingerprint to authorise the transaction.

5. Comprehensive

Alipay can be used to pay for almost anything while you're in China. As well as offering in-store and online mobile payments, the app also allows you to top-up your mobile airtime, order and pay for a taxi or takeaway.

6. Receive remittances quickly

Alipay’s partnership with WorldRemit means that Alipay users in China can now conveniently receive remittances from overseas directly into their Alipay e-wallets almost instantly.

The most asked questions about Alipay answered


Is Alipay the same as PayPal?

Alipay is China's equivalent to PayPal. Both Alipay and PayPal provide users with e-Wallet services, allowing them to make mobile payments.

Can you use Alipay without a Chinese bank account?

Yes, the new 90-day tour pass service allows foreigners visiting China to use Alipay with an international bank account.

Is Alipay a credit card?

No, it is a mobile payments service. You use your credit or debit card to preload funds into your Alipay Account.

Can foreigners use Alipay? Yes, foreigners visiting China can use international credit and debit cards and an international phone line to sign up and begin using Alipay's new 90-day tour pass to make payments while they are visiting Mainland China.

Is Alipay safe?

Alipay is a well established and secure service.

Generally, mobile payments are even safer than paying with your credit or debit card. Instead of your actual card details, the merchant receives an encrypted version of your financial details.

What technology does Alipay use to keep your data safe?

  • Advanced encryption technology
  • Real-time risk monitoring system.
  • Security protection (including compensation for unauthorised transactions and 90-day payment protection).

Here are some best practices to keep yourself safe when using the service:

  • Always use secure and unique passwords and pins.
  • Always keep your phone locked when not in use.
  • Activate biometric phone locking if your device has it.
  • Avoid making payments over public wi-fi.
  • Monitor your card activity for transactions you don't recognise.

WorldRemit has partnered with Alipay!

Here at WorldRemit, we are excited to have partnered with mobile payment experts Alipay to make it easier and more convenient than ever for Chinese nationals living in the diaspora to transfer money to their family back home.

If you need to send money to your family in China, you can now use your WorldRemit account to transfer money directly into their Alipay account. Providing that the recipient has set up their Alipay account to receive remittances, they should receive your money transfer into their account in a matter of minutes!

Visit our Alipay service page to find out more about how to send money with Alipay.

Ready to make your transfer?

Download the WorldRemit app