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Payment Options in China for American Tourists

Level Contributor
9 posts
152 reviews
Payment Options in China for American Tourists

I read and heard from other people that China uses mobile pay services like Alipay and WeChat extensively and that many places don't accept cash anymore. I have tried to set up my US credit cards with Alipay and WeChat without success. Any advice on how we handle the payment issue? Will my US credit cards be worthless outside of the touristy areas? We are going to Beijing, Guilin, and Guangzhou.

20 replies to this topic
Sherbrooke, Canada
Level Contributor
45,744 posts
824 reviews
1. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

Credit cards are fine for hotel and good restaurants. Many shops, even international chains only accept Chinese cards. Those who do may ask to see your passport.

For other places, cash should be fine. It is pretty rare that they will not accept cash. If you face this then just go to another place.

Your bank card will be fine for nearly all Chinese ATMs.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17,741 posts
118 reviews
2. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

Credit cards and cash. Bring your ATM card. Our American credit cards were accepted at more places than we expected. Not everywhere though. Cash was taken everywhere. And ATMs are all over so it's easy to get more cash. Most took our American ATM card.

Never needed Ali pay or we chat t any. Saw lots of places that took them but it was never the only way to pay.

Dublin, California
Level Contributor
23,857 posts
47 reviews
3. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

Cash is always accepted.

Sherbrooke, Canada
Level Contributor
45,744 posts
824 reviews
4. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

"Cash is always accepted." - not anymore but still not a problem for tourists.

Europe
Level Contributor
3,410 posts
149 reviews
5. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

Hear of ATMs? Use them.

Beijing, China
Level Contributor
12,233 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

#5, you can pass a thread by, if you don't understand the issue at hand. The issue isn't where you can get cash in China, it's to what extent you can still use cash at all. In case you're not up to speed, electronic payment methods are increasingly taking the place of cash (without options to use cash). Most of those electronic methods require Chinese bank accounts and setups that are difficult or impossible for foreigners to take part in. Please try to keep up.

7. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

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8. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

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Beijing, China
Level Contributor
12,233 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

#8, Amen.

Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
9,856 posts
10. Re: Payment Options in China for American Tourists

Well, as an example, McDonalds at e.g. the Beijing airport is certainly not accepting cash.

But in general you are still ok with cash. My problem with ATM's however is that the weekly and monthly limits of my credit cards are too low at times for the amount of cash I would need.

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