Expats Guide~ How to Setup and Use WeChat or Alipay in China on Mobile or Desktop Device

Metro top-up card machine>Metro top-up machine>Metro top-up card machine

wechat balance checker Machine

Wechat balance checker Machine

metro top up machine

Top up Machine at Metro stations

Introduction to payment Structure and options in China



How to~Top up a Metro Card and Buy things in China

China is a fast-moving high technology country, contrary to what westerners may think, the infrastructure in mega-cities, which are many and steadily growing, and is groundbreaking in speed, this is, of course, interrelated with finance, social media and eCommerce methodologies and policies

credit cards were never a big thing here in China and banks Only issued debit cards that allow you to withdraw what you had in balance, a safety feature and a shrewd move you can say. When it comes to money and business matters, no one has the drive, passion and hard-working approach to achieving as the Chinese do.



Paying with your phone on the metro turn-style

Expats Guide~ how to Setup and Use WeChat or Alipay in China on Mobile or Desktop









WeChat on desktop



We-chat accepted on mobile < Wechat cannot be run as an independent desktop-only app, ONLY with the mobile device as the prime host, this then allows the user to log on to a desktop device by downloading the app to the DESKTOP>






Two Easy alternatives to Conventional PAYMENT

accepted desktop to mobile

When in China there are Two easy alternatives to the conventional payment system these allow ways to top up your metro card and more

  1. using the credit [ Top-Up] machines in Metro stations, Lay flat [any side] your card in the right side window slot,
  2. Press the green iron of 4 showings on the screen
  3. select payment type, I.e. cash, bank card, we chat QR scan
  4. amount ENTER, I.e. 50/100/150 RMB [yuan]
  5. light in a green compartment with your card goes out, REMOVE CARD- DONE
  6. Another machine alongside can reveal the balance just by putting in the card – or
  7. swipe your card on the ‘Enter’ machine and they will display it
  8. go to counter and say ”duo shao qian ka” [how much on card]




payment options types in china

Pay at till and metro machines


  • Another OPTION ! but should your phone fail or have POWER problem Your screwed! as below
  • From mobile WeChat have the app ready to scan bar-code to pay at machine on entry and exit
  • How to top up my Metro travel card and more in China? Let’s consider this too!



Scan the QR code at the metro station 

mobile payment method China

money and payments china

These are easier than cash and international credit cards, [which would have additional charges for usage] we all want easier options and here expats can pay for just about everything in China using these ”TENCENT” payment apps


WeChat Payment App

Using china’s payment apps


A Chinese bank account is a must:

To enable mobile payment apps, you can apply for a Bank account but only if you are likely to have a long-term status, business or working for example, 6 months plus

The process is now effortless than I remember in the early days, with English-speaking counters and just providing a passport, police registration sometimes, address in china and documents to complete with guidance

WeChat for Social entertainment/ POS transactions/Taxi/Food/Transfers/Red packets friend transfers /e-commerce/games and more

Alipay is an equally popular payment method using a similar functionality and options


Alipay Payment App

another popular payment system in china

Mobile payment apps

allow you to pay for utilities, taxi, shopping malls even use China’s pas as-you-go, bike-sharing programs with a simple scan it’s the new e-commerce currency and social payment medium

Mobile registration:

New card or lost card is also available ~ here are the steps I have tried and it works, folks




Procedures to Registration from a Mobile Phone


Mobile User registration Route

Mobile User registration Route

Mobile User Registration Route>Mobile User Registration Route

So now you are ready for your trip to china:

just need your good lady and a fortnight holiday for the best experience

In many parts of China, you will be able to use these apps maybe in cone areas will require a different local card but will be linked to your Chinese bank account.







 E-commerce online websites will give you full access:


Purchasing Online

and their process are seamless as you would expect, a delivery is confirmed when the recipient receives the product in each case from collection boxes, this service provides a simple system of designated collection boxes installed near high-rise blocks and home entrances where security is prevalent, these units of disposal and collections are huge wall boxes with compartments for each person, then a received texted of we-chat message that the item has arrived and given a code


With this code on your phone you enter it to the electronic secured boxes, the door pops open upon code entry.

The supplier is undated and it completes the delivery process

these boxes come in different colors from Green to yellow and red representing the various company’s business.



Recently I found that online food purchasing of ready-made meals are very popular, where you can buy online from app or computer with huge listings of cuisines and listings from the comfort of your home,

The Companies have set rigid standards to delivery times for their workers, monitoring of delivery lateness means a penalty to the delivery guy/woman

The quality from my experience is good and does not disappoint in the main, other purchases are



Chinese General didi2


The DIDI app is super useful for those late night early morning after club and bar trips, or arriving at at the airport and pre- ordered your service taxi.

Again the payment is via Wechat and Zhi fu bao [ alipay]  which are super easy to use once you are familiar with the step by step process.

Chinese General didi







Recent news suggests incredible swing to the newest modern payment system by many in China

76.9% Chinese Use Electronic Payments, over 45% Invest in WMP’s

E-commerce and electronic purchasing is a big step in China, this has made it so easy for every one Chinese and foreigners to travel the country with freedom without the worries of carrying cash, credit cards, least of all carrying these irritating loose change you can do nothing with.


This is simplicity personified and wow eating, drinking, shopping malls, and travel tickets are a pleasure to manage now. It would not surprise me if, in the coming future, china decides on Crypto-currencies this will be the next big step, to exchange currencies and purchase on the fly.

Once you are in this system everything runs like clockwork [pending no unforeseen glitches] There is something strangely compulsive about buying now as the ease of use is an experience to behold

Banks will bring an easier means of transfer in international currencies, through a process or none laundering steps.

With the Greater Bay Initiative development which is underway, everything is gearing up to ease of use, internet, and better e-commerce country readiness.


Good news:

Though I have not used this system for international cards

I have been advised that WeChat now accepts international cards and accounts


What this means is simple:

  • None fussy transactions
  • no exchange of coins and dirty Fiat money
  • It reduces waiting at checkouts
  • online purchases are smooth and with returnable agreements
  • Travel tickets and Activities are a breeze
  • in a nutshell, it’s the way to go, and it is here now!

So Now then!

  1. What did you think of this Post did it deliver?
  2. Was this information clear for your travel use
  3. Was it of particular interest to you?
  4. Would you consider learning Mandarin
  5. Is China worth a visit?

Dont mess with Bruce

It would also be great to hear your ideas or questions

Drop me a short line below





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