How to Setup and Use Mobile Alipay (Zhifubao) in China

Nowadays, mobile payment has turned to be the most popular payment method in China. If you are walking on the street, you may find nearly every stores, markets, restaurants, taxis……even some beggars accept mobile payment as a method of payment. Right now, over 90% of mobile payment market in China is occupied by Alipay and WeChat Pay. More and more merchants in China are starting to accept mobile payment.

What Is Alipay?

Alipay is a third-party mobile and online payment platform which belongs to Alibaba Group. At first, it is only an online payment method which can be used on Taobao.com (similar to Amazon.com) to do online shopping. Right now, it turned to be a large platform which provides not only payment services, but also movie tickets, Didi taxi (similar to Uber), Air & Train tickets, Phone top-up and crowd-sourced reviews about local restaurants services (similar to Yelp.com).

Therefore, it is not exaggerated to walk on the street without your wallet, for what you need is only a smartphone. So what are you waiting for? Let’s start to enjoy it!

What Shall I Prepare to Begin with?

What you really need are the following three things:

1. A fully charged smartphone

Until now, Alipay App is only available on smartphones with iOS, Android or Windows phone system. You can search “Alipay” or “支付宝” in your App store, Google Play Store or Microsoft Store to download the App. (Attention: We do not recommend Windows Phone users to use the App as it was not updated since July, 2012 until June, 2018 in Microsoft Store.)

2. A phone number which you can receive SMS in Mainland China

When doing registration or paying a large amount of money, the App may send you confirmation code by SMS. Therefore, you need to make sure that your number is available in Mainland China and the number has been linked with your bank card when you were applying it in Chinese Mainland banks.

3. A debit or credit card issued by banks in Mainland China

You need to link your bank card with the App before using it to go shopping. Right now we recommend the debit card with UnionPay brand, as it would be the most convenient and popular brand used in Mainland China.

After preparing these things, we can start to open an account on Alipay. The following tutorial will be mainly based on iOS system.

How Can I Open An Alipay Account on My Phone?

Step 1: After installing Alipay, tap the App and you can see the welcome page. If the language appearing is not the one you are familiar with, please tap “语言” on the top right corner to change the language that you prefer. Right now, Alipay is only available in 3 languages: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong and Taiwan) and English. Then select languages and tap “保存” to save it.

Step 1: After installing Alipay, tap the App and you can see the welcome page. If the language appearing is not the one you are familiar with, please tap “语言” on the top right corner to change the language that you prefer. Right now, Alipay is only available in 3 languages: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong and Taiwan) and English. Then select languages and tap “保存” to save it.

Step 2: Tap “Sign up” to start your registration.

Step 3: Please tap “Agree” when you see the Terms & Privacy Policy.

Step 4: Please choose the region of your phone number. Then enter your phone number which is able to receive SMS in Mainland China.

Step 5: enter the 4-digit verification code you received from SMS.

Step 6: Set your login password, which must be between 8-20 characters. (Attention: There will be 2 passwords for your Alipay. one for login and another for payment. Please remember both 2 passwords.)

Awesome! Now you have an Alipay account. However, before using it, you need to link at least one bank card with it.

How Can I Link A Bank Card?

Step 1: Open Alipay App, Tap “Me” at the bottom right corner of the page.

Step 2: Tap “Bank Cards” to link a card.

Step 3: Add a debit card or credit card issued by Chinese Mainland banks.

Step 4: Enter your Chinese bank card number. Then, tap “next”.

Step 5: Fill in your name shown on your Chinese bank card, select your ID type, enter your ID Number and type in your mobile number which has been recorded by the bank. In the end, tap “Agree and Bind Card”. Alipay right now only accept the following types of ID:

  • Passport
  • Home Visit Permit (For Hong Kong people who travel to Mainland China)
  • Tai Bao Zheng (Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents)
  • Mainland Identity Card

Step 6: Enter the confirmation code received from SMS. Then tap “Next”.

Step 7: Set a 6-digit payment password and reenter it. This password is only used to do the payment and it is different from the login password. (Attention: We do not recommend our clients to use your bank card password the same as Alipay payment password, for it is risky.)

Then, you will see the following page saying “添加成功” (added card successfully) and the bank card information will appear on your “My Bank Cards” page.

Now you are fully prepared. Why not start to use Alipay to do your first payment?

How to Do the Payment by Alipay?

Generally speaking, there are 2 methods to do your payment: either scan others’ QR code, or let others scan your QR code.

I. Scan Others’ QR Code

It is a common payment method in some small stores, small restaurants, Taxis and personal business. Usually, you can see a sign with Alipay’s logo (left image below) and a QR code sign for Alipay (middle image below) or a QR Code which combines several mobile payment services (right image below).

So when you are going to have the check, you can take out your smartphone, scanning the QR code in the following 3 steps:
Step 1: Open Alipay App, tap “Scan” on the top left corner.

Step 2: Put the QR code into the frame and it will automatically jump to the merchant’s payment page. (If the QR code is on a picture in your phone, you can tap “Album” on the top right corner to scan it.)

Step 3: On the merchant’s payment page, you need to enter the number of payment. Then tap “确认付款” (confirm the payment). The style or structure of this page may be different from the following one according to the third party service that merchants use (like the following right image).

Step 4: Then, it will jump to Alipay’s payment page. You can check the amount of payment here and you can choose your payment method, including balance, Yu’E Bao, debit cards and credit cards, etc. After that, tap “Pay now”.

Step 5: Type in your payment password (not your login password). Then, tap “pay”.

When it jumps to the page shown like the image below, it means the payment finished successfully.

II. Let Others Scan Your QR Code

It is also a common method which you can use in large restaurants, boutiques, supermarkets or convenience stores. It is easier and more efficient as you do not have to enter the number of payment and password.
Step 1: Open Alipay App, tap “Pay” on the top left corner.

Step 2: Firstly, select your payment method (left image below) and then let cashiers scan your QR code (middle image below) or put your phone face to the sensor (right image below). (Attention: This QR code is only used to pay instead of receiving money. Do not let others scan it except cashiers. Do not do screenshot and send it to others.)

Awesome! The payment is finished! Now you can use mobile Alipay as your electronic wallet.

How Can I Transfer Money to Strangers or My Friends?

I. To Strangers or The Guys You Won’t Transfer Money A Second Time:

Step 1: Open Alipay App, tap “Collect” on the top right corner.

Step 2: Now you got your QR code. Either tap “Save image” or do a screenshot to save it. Then, send it to the one who need to pay you and ask them to scan this QR code. The money has been transferred to you will automatically be added to your balance.

II. To Friends:

Step 1: Open Alipay App, tap “Friends” on the bottom right corner.

Step 2: Tap the “+” button on the top right corner. Then tap “Add Contacts” to add a friend.

Step 3: Enter your friends’ Alipay Account/Mobile Number/Taobao Account to search. Then, tap “Search” on your keyboard.

Step 4: Tap “Add” to add your friends and then send him/her friend request to verify yourself.

Step 5: Wait for your friend to accept your friend request. After receiving his/her message, tap the “+” at bottom right corner and then tap “Transfer”.

Step 6: Enter the amount of money (required) that you want to transfer to your friend and add your remark (optional) to continue. Then, tap “Confirm”.

Step 7: Similar to Step 4&5 of “Scan others’ QR code” part, please select the payment method and enter your payment password to finish your transfer.

Bravo, now you are the master of mobile Alipay! Still have any questions? Why not check the following Q&A part to find the answer?

Q&A

Q: Can I Turn My Alipay App into English Version?

A: Of course you can. If it is your first time to use Alipay, you can change your language at top right corner of Sign up/Login page.

If you passed Sign up/Login page, don’t be panic! You can still tap “Me-Settings-General-Multiple languages” to select your preferred language.

Q: How Can I Login/Logout Alipay?

A: Open Alipay App, tap “Me-Settings-Log Out”. Then you can select to either login with another account or logout.

Q: Is Alipay Safe?

A: Generally speaking, Alipay is safe, as long as we can be careful with protecting our personal information. Please always remember and follow these instructions below:

  • Never tell or show either your payment password or login password to others.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings when you are typing your password.
  • Do not setup any easy password, such as “123456”, “111111”, “password” or your birthday.
  • Never show or let others photograph your payment QR code.
  • Never download any suspect software on your phone and never click any suspect URL link on your email.

Q: Can I Use Alipay in the USA/Globally?

A: Yes, but it may be a little difficult for you to find a merchant in other countries. Right now, Alipay is trying to spread its influence throughout the world. However, its localization seems not so active. The following 2 pictures were photographed in New York. It is interesting to find out that Alipay’s advertisement in New York only contains Chinese characters instead of English ones. (As far as we know, the condition in Tokyo is similar to New York as well.)

Therefore, perhaps Alipay is still targeting at Chinese visitors or Chinese students instead of local people in other countries. Because of it, you may not have a brilliant using experience out of China.

Q: Alipay vs Paypal. Which One Is Better in China?

A: It depends. If you would like to trade with local Chinese merchants or just visit or live in Mainland China, we recommend our clients to use Alipay as it would be very convenient for you.
However, if you want to trade with international merchants or enterprises in China, they may prefer Paypal to Alipay.
Overall, few Chinese people know or use Paypal in Mainland China.

Q: How Can I Contact Alipay Customer Service?

A: Alipay customer service hotline: 95188 (China), +86 571 95188 (Overseas)
Alipay official website: https://www.alipay.com/
Mobile Alipay official website: https://mobile.alipay.com/index.htm (Chinese)
https://render.alipay.com/p/s/download?form=chinese (English)

This post is originally found here: https://www.globalfromasia.com/alipay-guide/