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Main card schemes and alternative payment methods in China

Read about payment methods and how to increase conversion by offering the most convenient online payment methods when selling goods online in China

More to be found in the Cross-border Ecommerce Country Report – China

Find out more about online payment methods in China and how to increase conversion here.

Domestic and Preferred Credit Card Schemes
China UnionPay is used by 54.1% of credit card holders in China.

Alternative Payment Methods
Alipay - Buyers and sellers on Alibaba Group websites use Alipay to make and receive payments online. As of 2012, the market leader had 500 million users. Alipay provides an escrow payment service, which ensures online transactions by collecting payment from buyers and releasing payment to sellers only upon buyers’ receipt of orders. Alipay offers both escrow and immediate payments. The immediate payment option is normally used for non-shipment services and products, e.g., flight or hotel bookings. In May 2011, Alipay obtained an online payment license from the PBoC. In recent years, Alipay has introduced several innovative products that have further enhanced both online transactions and the development of online finance, including settlements with debit/credit cards on Alipay, Yuebao and credit overdrafts.

Tenpay - Tencent’s Tenpay is Alipay’s main competitor in the payments industry. Tenpay can be used to send/receive payments, withdraw money from bank accounts, charge mobiles, deposit money in game accounts and buy air tickets. Tenpay is linked to over 80 financial institutions with over 300 access points. According to a report by China Post, Tenpay had an estimated 200 million users by the end of 2012.

Online Bank Transfer – Union Pay - With over 3.5 billion cards issued, UnionPay is one of the world’s leading payment card brands. UnionPay provides a payment method called UnionPay Online Payments (UPOP) for their cardholders to use when making online purchases. UPOP provides a safe and secure shopping environment for UnionPay cardholders and is supported by over 50 Chinese Financial Institutions that issue UnionPay cards. With UPOP, UnionPay cardholders have several ways of making purchases online:
- VeriPay
- ExpressPay
- Easy-Pay
- Pre-Pay
- eBank-Pay

PayPal: eBay Inc.’s payment provider may lack major usage in the Chinese market, but it is the top foreign competitor, being the most common payment solution for companies purchasing products internationally. PayPal only has the option of instant payments. Although it offers payment protection, it is still not viewed with as much trust as escrow purchases (which are possible with the previously mentioned providers).

Preferred Online Payment Methods
Payment options available to online shoppers include cash-on-delivery, online payment, bank transfer, e-wallets and cards.

Read an in-depth overview (including sources) of card schemes, alternative payment methods, online payment methods in China and how to increase conversion by using the payment methods in the downloadable country report.