Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

China further boosts ease of payment for foreigners


China's central bank released a guide to payment services in the county mid-March, as the latest step of its continuous efforts to optimize the payment experience of foreigners.

Among recent measures, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) instructed major payment platforms to increase the single transaction limit from $1,000 to $5,000 and the annual cumulative transaction cap from $10,000 to $50,000 for overseas travelers using mobile payments.

Meanwhile, efforts are afoot to address concerns about privacy raised by foreign users. According to the PBOC guide, no ID information is required for transactions under a certain amount when foreigners use mobile payments such as Alipay, WeChat Pay, and UnionPay. Selected international e-wallets are also accepted by merchants in China.

Woman paying with smartphone in a cafe. /CFP
Woman paying with smartphone in a cafe. /CFP

Woman paying with smartphone in a cafe. /CFP

"Alipay now enables 10 e-wallets from seven countries and regions. We are planning to expand the coverage of e-wallets this year," said Zhu Xugang, director of cross-border business at Ant Group. 

CGTN's Séan Doherty from Ireland and Emma Ho from Malaysia recently tried a variety of payment methods accessible to foreigners in China, including bank cards, mobile payment, and cash, demonstrating how convenient payment methods are for foreigners in China.

"International or domestic (payment methods), they make it so easy for people to come in and experience China," said Doherty.


Wang Jing, manager of an arts and culture workshop in Beijing, said the workshop has witnessed a notable rebound in the number of foreign customers since last year.

"Many young foreign tourists are adept at using mobile payment services as proficiently as Chinese users," Wang observed.

Foreign tourists visiting Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province, China, Jan. 26 2024. /CFP
Foreign tourists visiting Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province, China, Jan. 26 2024. /CFP

Foreign tourists visiting Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province, China, Jan. 26 2024. /CFP

At the same time, Chinese banks are actively expanding the acceptance of overseas bank cards and simplifying cash transactions across the country to ensure a seamless payment experience for foreign users.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the nation's largest lender, has equipped 130,000 merchants with point-of-sale (POS) terminals that accept a wide range of international credit cards.

Additionally, the Agricultural Bank of China has committed to increasing the acceptance coverage of foreign cards in key sectors and regions to exceed 90 percent. The Bank of Communications has announced plans to raise the coverage rate of foreign cards at key merchants to no less than 80 percent by the end of March, with a target of achieving full coverage by mid-April of 2024.

To enhance cash services, over 60,000 bank outlets nationwide now offer foreign currency exchange services. International travelers can also acquire RMB banknotes or digital RMB through self-service kiosks located at airports, border ports and other key locations.

Dong Ximiao, chief researcher at Merchants Union Consumer Finance Company Limited, emphasized the importance of enhancing the acceptance of foreign cards, expanding the availability of POS terminals that accept international cards, and lowering transaction fees for foreign cardholders.

Dong also suggested efforts to impose stricter penalties for refusing cash payments to cultivate a more favorable payment environment for foreigners.

(With input from Xinhua)

Search Trends