Chinese payment gateways

payment gateway

Having a successful payment gateway is the fastest way to fortunes on the internet: i.e. PayPal.

All countries have rules and regulations on which payment method can be used and when. To that end, China has its rules and regulations and will not allow a Chinese business to operate payment processes on none Chinese approved systems. This applies to all internet transactions processed on server / cloud / data centres located in China. 

An overseas business needs to have access to some parts of these payment gateways if you want to trade widely and successfully with Chinese people and businesses. If you cannot take a payment you cannot process an order.

China have their own very successful payment processing systems and gateway for day to day trading.

Historically China has used cash and bank money transfer. The transfer for monies between account and bank has always been fast. A few minutes between accounts and only a few hours between banks.

Today, like in the rest of eastern Asia, on-line banking and automated bank machines are the day to day method of running your bank account.

A visit to the bank is still required to move monies into oversea currencies or make payment overseas.

Chinese Credit Cards

UnionPay logo sm

For Chinese citizens the business credit card processing system is Union Pay. All Chinese credit cards will be issued with Union Pay. Some Chinese credit cards will support Visa and MasterCard processing.

We recommend that you speak with your business credit card processing company to ensure you can take a payment from a Union Pay credit card.

When processing a Chinese credit card the monies are taken from the Chinese bank account in your local currency. The purchaser has already exchanged the monies into your local currencies at the Chinese bank.

When using a Chinese credit card overseas it operates like a Debit Card as the funds are taken from the Chinese account to successful complete the credit card processing transaction.

Please note: currently most Chinese cards will need “swiping” as the “chip and pin” / “contactless” processing is not compatible between countries.

Chinese On-line payment processing

The roll out of payment system in China is happing very fast and many people and business prefer these systems as no cash is required.

Local Chinese charge cards.

A local charge card is where you have put small amounts money into on to the card at the outset.

Then stores, etc. take touch card payment. There are different operators in different cities / areas in China.

Often you will find these system used in food halls where you purchase a prepay card before you purchase and pay for the food with your card. This allows the food halls to process many orders very quickly and unclean money is not handled by the staff serving food.

These system have been used widely in China for the last 10 years as they remove the need to carry cash, visited banks, etc.

Today these cards have been replaced with APPs on smart telephones. The processing is the same as with the Change Cards. Just the need for the card has been removed.

On-line payment gateways.

There are two main on-line Chinese payment gateways;

alipay logo      wepay logo

These are the main on-line line payment processing gateways used on the internet in China.

AliPay, owned by Alibaba, was the first of the major on-line payment processing systems.

WePay, owned by Tencent, is a new system and with its full integration with WeChat is becoming very popular in China.

Both gateways system support on-line payments, touch payment APPs (therefore replacing local Charge cards) and increasingly bank services.

These systems are cheap are to used, 50% to 75% cheaper payment system we use in Europe.

You can open AliPay and WePay as an overseas citizen or business.

The trading rights you have with these payment method within China is changing monthly.

We recommend that you contact the payment gateways directly and find out there terms and conditions.

Ask the specific questions:

Will your payment gateway allow a Chinese citizen or business to make a payment in my on-line store in local Chinese RMB currency and have the monies available to an overseas bank account?

What are the costs in achieving this?

Please remember;
  • If your internet presence is been processed in mainland China, regardless of what the payment gateways say, you must have a Chinese bank account and business to operate in China.
  • The work-around is to have your Chinese on-line store operate outside China. Have a local marketing presence in mainland China point at the overseas Chinese store. Tmall Global operate this way for overseas businesses.
  • The Chinese government limit the amount of money Chinese citizens can spend overseas each year.
  • Many Chinese citizen often have an overseas bank accounts, which is legal, so they have access to overseas payment gateways and credit cards. Therefore your existing payment system will support some Chinese business in your local market.
Our recommendations;
  • Make sure you credit card processing payment system can process Union Pay.
  • Monitor the international progress of Alipay and WePay. Once they can process Chinese citizens paying in Chinese RMB to your business bank account add these payment gateways to your online stores.

Web page last modified: Nov 2017