9 FAQ to learn how to use Alipay

alipayAlipay is the leading online payment company in China with over 300 million registered users. To do business in China(especially for online business), Alipay is one of the most popular payment options among buyers. So as a foreign company or individual, you need to learn how to use Alipay before you enter the market.

Q: What  is service charge of Alipay?

A: For unverified Alipay users, if monthly transfer value is less than RMB500(including RMB500), it is free. If monthly transfer value is more than RMB500, Alipay will charge 1% of exceeded part. For example, if the monthly transfer value is RMB900, Alipay will charge 1% x 400 = 4RMB. For individual transfer charge, the maximum charge is 40RMB, the minimum charge is 1RMB.

For verified Alipay users, if monthly transfer value is less than RMB5000(including RMB5000), it is free. If monthly transfer value is more than RMB5000, Alipay will charge 1% of exceeded part. For example, if the monthly transfer value is RMB9000, Alipay will charge 1% x 4000 = 40RMB. For individual transfer charge, the maximum charge is 40RMB, the minimum charge is 1RMB.

Q: How to deposit money to your Alipay account?

A: You will need to open bank account in one of the following banks that accept Alipay transactions: China merchants bank, Industrial and commercial bank of China, China construction bank, Bank of China, Agricultural bank of China, Bank of communications, SPD bank, Guangdong development bank, China everbright bank, China citic bank, China minsheng bank, Bank of Shanghai, Bank of Hangzhou, Bank of Ningbo, Pingan bank. You will have to activate e-banking function of your bank account or bank card.

There are other options to deposit money to your Alipay account as well: credit card, prepaid card, mobile and telephone payment.

Q: How to withdraw money from Alipay?

A: Under withdraw tab on your alipay account, you can set up withdraw information. You can only withdraw money to bank accounts in China.

Q: What is the payment limit?

A: There is no payment limit if you pay by your Alipay balance.

Each bank will set 500RMB to 1000RMB transactional limit, daily payment limit vary from 3000RMB to 20000RMB. For detailed payment limits of each bank, please check the following link:http://help.alipay.com/lab/help_detail.htm?help_id=6703&keyword=%D6%A7%B8%B6%CF%DE%B6%EE

Q: Can foreigner use Alipay?

A: Foreigner can use Alipay as long as they have a bank account in above mentioned banks that support Alipay transaction, you will need to activate e-banking function of your bank accounts to use Alipay.

Q: How can foreign buyers send money to a Alipay account?

A: If they have Visa cards issued by Bank in Hongkong, then they can do the transaction directly using e-banking service of their Visa cards. Alipay don’t accept credit cards payment from other countries and regions.

If your foreign buyers don’t have Visa card in Hongkong, then they will have to deposit money to Alipay account with bank accounts opened in Chinese banks that support Alipay transaction.

Q: Can I send or accept foreign currency payment on Alipay?

A: No, Alipay only support RMB payment, it doesn’t support foreign currency payment.

Q: How can foreigner apply for verified account?

A: Foreigner users need to fill out the form under foreign user verification

They will also need to submit the following documents for consideration:

Passport copy;

Chinese guarantor identity card copy;

Letter of undertaking signed by Chinese guarantor;

Your bank account in China

Q: Can overseas company apply for verified business account?

A: No, companies set up in foreign countries can’t apply for verified business accounts. Only Chinese companies can apply.

Important Update:

Charles from Malaysia commented below that foreign company now can set up alipay account to accept RMB payment, that is contradictory to the FAQ we have collected from Alipay official websites. So we called and emailed alipay ask for clarification. Surprisingly, we have got 2 contradictory answers from Alipay. The service staff on telephone told me that foreign companies can’t set up alipay account unless they open up an account in the 12 banks in China that are compatible to Alipay. However, in the email, the reply is “overseas companies can set up alipay account for USD1000 one-off setting up fee and 3% transactional charge for every deal. The email support staff indicated in the email that she is in the International Business Department of Alipay. So the possible explanation is that Alipay overseas department has introduced the new service to overseas company which the domestic department didn’t heard of.

Here is the contact information of Alipay:

Tel: 0086-571-88156688 (Chinese)

Email: merchant@alipay.com (International Business Department)

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12 Responses to “9 FAQ to learn how to use Alipay”
  1. Charles says:

    Hi Mr Steven,

    Thanks for your sharing. It is indeed helpful. Recently, I talked to a representative from Alipay. I was told that foreign companies can now tap into Alipay to receive RMB payment. To do that, Alipay has to verify my business and there is a one-time setup cost of USD1,000. Her statements contradict to your claim that foreign-registered companies are not able to use Alipay.

    The following is an interesting FAQ provided by Alipay:

    Would you be able to share more about the possibility of foreign-registered company providing service in return for a fee through Alipay?

    I appreciate you can share more. Thanks!

  2. Steven says:

    Hi Charles,

    Thanks for the comment and your question.

    I just called service staff of alipay, they confirm with me again that foreign company can’t verify their alipay account, and they must have a Chinese bank account to open an alipay account. they can’t directly deposit money or withdrow balance to their overseas bank account, all these has to be done through bank accounts in China.

    If we look at the issue from another standpoint, China has been controlling the international transfer of RMB and foreign currency. Alipay has to obey the law.

    The alipay staff has reminded you to check again whether the people you are contacting is from Alipay.

  3. James says:

    Thank you, Steven, for your excellent and informative post. I do have one question though. I’m currently trying to set up my website to be able to receive payment through AliPay. I need to find something called a Partner ID, but can’t seem to find it anywhere in my account information. Do you know anything about this? Or whether there is another FAQ dealing with this subject?


  4. Steven Chow says:

    I am glad you enjoy the reading, James. Could you please elaborate on “partner ID” or if you are puzzled, you can email alipay support(email address above) for clarification.

    We are happy to assist if you could give us more detailed information.


  5. William says:

    Alipay has an international service. Details of the service are on the Alipay site at this link. It seems that in the previous posts, there has been a difference between domestic and international Alipay. Good luck.


  6. Marcus says:

    can u recommend a trust-worthy sites I can buy Alipay prepaid card from? I don’t have bank account in China.

  7. Steven Chow says:

    Marcus, normally you can buy alipay prepaid card at post offices locally.

  8. Tom says:

    Hey Steven,
    Thank you so much for this precious howto.
    It was incredibly valuable for my work.
    I have assembled a Chinese-bank and on-line payment platforms guide for my company, and I am sure you guys will find it useful, especially because we have some easy step-by-step howtos that help you through the various Chinese e-banking interfaces linked to Alipay.

    Please take a look at my guide on http://fb.cityweekend.com.cn/Intro


  9. frustrated says:

    Foreigners cannot use Alipay. None of the people saying, “sure it works” or any of the people saying, “Thanks, I’m happy to hear it” have every actually tried it.

    When you register with Alipay they demand your Chinese name and your Chinese ID card number. Of course, no foreigner has a Chinese ID card number.

    All these idiots saying, “as long as you have a Chinese bank account…” don’t know what they are talking about. I say “idiots” because you should never give advice about something you haven’t actually done yourself.


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