How to Use Alipay app International to Help Foreigners Visiting China


On August 17, 2023, at the Alipay Partner Conference, a significant upgrade was announced for users of international bank cards. Now, foreign visitors can easily bind their Alipay accounts with international cards like Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, Discover, and JCB, enabling mobile payments at most merchants across Mainland China. This means seamless transactions for a variety of services including subways, buses, taxis, high-speed train tickets, as well as payments in restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, and tourist attractions. Additionally, international cardholders can enjoy various convenient payment methods such as QR code scanning, password-free payments, and in-app purchases. If you are a tourist or a business traveler in China, Alipay app ensures that with just a smartphone, you can roam freely and make hassle-free payments throughout the mainland. This guide is tailored for tourists looking to navigate China effortlessly with Alipay app International.

Alipay is not only one of the largest payment platforms in China but also one of the largest mobile payment platforms in the world. Together with WeChat Pay, it dominates China’s mobile payment market. These apps have fundamentally changed China’s financial landscape, making mobile payments a part of everyday life for Chinese people. According to various reports, Alipay has over a billion active users and covers nearly all consumer sectors including dining, transportation, and shopping, highlighting its incredible influence and reach.

The Difference between Alipay app and Alipay app International

Alipay app is one of the largest mobile payment platforms in China, founded by Alibaba Group, primarily serving users in Mainland China. It allows users to perform online transfers, pay bills, purchase goods and services, and access a range of financial services such as wealth management and insurance. Alipay’s interface and services are mainly in Chinese, and it primarily integrates Chinese banking and payment methods.

Alipay app International, on the other hand, is specifically designed for users outside Mainland China. It supports multiple international bank cards and multiple languages, facilitating international users during their travels in China or for cross-border e-commerce transactions. This version emphasizes convenient payment in China, including at stores, restaurants, and in transportation, addressing the difficulties international travelers face when using foreign currency in China.

Alipay app International: Quick Setup in 4 Steps

Step 1: Download the Alipay APP

You can download or update your Alipay APP to the latest version on your mobile phone.

Step 2: Get started the Alipay APP

You can consider switch to “International Version” for a simper design. (For Non-Chinese Mainland users) Register with your phone number or sign in.

  1. Open the AliPay app on your device.
  2. Tap the “Sign Up” or “Register” button.
  3. Enter the required information, such as your mobile number and email address.
  4. Set up a secure password for your AliPay account.
  5. Confirm your account by inputting the verification code received via your mobile number or email.

Step 3: Adding Credit or Debit Card

You can see “Add Credit or Debit Card” on the front page. Click “Add now”. It includs overseas Bank Cards issued by all major International Card networks.

Alipay APP International example3Alipay APP example4



Step 4: Fill in your passport and add a VISA or other bank card

You can verify by uploading passport and verifying face.
Follow the steps. You can scan your passport and fill it in automatically. Then click “Submit”.

Tips: If you use your passport to verify your identity, you will receive a notification asking you to upload a copy of your passport.

Alipay App International 4

Alipay app: International Credit Card Payments for Non-Mainland Users

Global (excluding card issuers in Washington State, USA) Visa/MasterCard/JCB cards issued. Supported on desktop and Alipay app payments, only personal type bank cards are supported.
Note: Dual currency cards and foreign currency single currency cards issued within Mainland China do not fall under the category of international credit cards.

  1. Global (excluding card issuers in Washington State, USA) issued Visa/MasterCard/JCB cards:
    • This means that the international version of Alipay accepts Visa, MasterCard, and JCB branded bank cards issued almost globally, except those issued in Washington State, USA. This exclusion is likely due to local laws and regulations.
  2. Supports desktop and Alipay app payments, only personal bank cards are supported:
    • It indicates that users can make payments with these bank cards either on a computer (desktop) or through the Alipay mobile app. Moreover, the type of bank cards supported is limited to personal bank cards, excluding other types such as corporate or business bank cards.
  3. Dual currency cards and foreign currency single currency cards issued within Mainland China are not considered international credit cards:
    • This clarifies that dual currency cards (i.e., cards that support both RMB and a foreign currency) and cards that only support foreign currency, both issued in Mainland China, are not regarded as international credit cards. This might be because, although these cards support foreign currency transactions, their primary operation and management still follow the regulations of China’s banking and financial system.

The Story of Alibaba and Alipay app

Alipay app was founded in 2004 by Alibaba Group, initially to serve as a payment tool for its e-commerce platform, Taobao, addressing the trust issues in online shopping. At that time, e-commerce in China was still in its infancy, and there was a significant trust gap between buyers and sellers. Alipay’s “Advance Payment” system ensured transaction security, which greatly promoted the development of the e-commerce market in China.

The name “Alipay app” reflects its original function and goal—to act as a tool for online payments. “Ali” comes from its parent company Alibaba, and “pay” denotes its function as a payment tool. Over time, Alipay app has evolved from a simple online payment tool into a comprehensive digital wallet and financial services platform.


With the convenient payment features of Alipay International, you can now seamlessly explore the rich culture and spectacular landscapes of China. From the historic Great Wall to the bustling skyline of Shanghai, from the panda bases of Sichuan to the ancient town of Lijiang in Yunnan, every corner is filled with possibilities for discovery. Whether you’re seeking a deep dive into ancient cultures or looking to snack on local delicacies in busy markets, Alipay International makes your journey smoother and more enjoyable. Don’t let complex payment processes hinder your adventures; let Alipay be your travel companion on an unforgettable journey across China. Don’t just hear about it from others, grab your phone and experience the beauty and hospitality of China yourself.

China, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, is easily navigable with the Alipay app. And if you find yourself falling in love with China, consider setting up a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE). GWBMA warmly welcomes you to come and explore China!


Please read this article: How to use WeChat Pay to help Foreigner visiting China?


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