Payment in China is very different than other countries. Because of a fast integration of electrical innovations the way of payment changed in China. Currently a lot of restaurants/supermarkets/shops are only accepting online payment through Alipay or Wechat pay. These companies changed the whole payment industry in China. With scanning a QR-code with your phone you are able to pay something. "Without one of these payment methods you can't pay for the most things" (Juul 2019 , student stories)
How to get Alipay or Wechat Pay? First you need a Chinese bank account and Chinese phone number. This sounds very scary and difficult, but in reality it is very easy and fast to get this. When arriving in China you can first get a Chinese phone number at a China Unicom store (there are a lot of these shops), they will help you get a Chinese phone number. After this you need to visit a bank nearby (ICBC is the best option for foreigners and also there a lot of ICBC bank locations), ICBC are mostly familiar with foreigners that setup a bank account, so this won't take to much time and it will cost only 10 RMB. With the Chinese phone number you can install Alipay through the Google play store or through searching "Alipay" on Baidu. When installed you can add the bank account card. You can withdraw cash with your creditcard at an ATM and deposit on your new Chinese bank account (use an ICBC ATM). Than go to the Alipay app and top up the amount you deposited on your Chinese bank account. Now you are ready to pay everything!
- Get a Chinese phone number
- Get a Chinese bank account
- Download Alipay or Wechat Pay
- Deposit money on your Chinese bank account
- Transfer money from Chinese bank account to Alipay/Wechat pay
- Enjoy easy payment!