China mobile payments for foreigners: Increased Limits Announced

China mobile payments for foreigners: Increased Limits Announced

A significant increase in the limit of China mobile payments for foreigners was recently announced with the aim to address payment challenges encountered by international travelers.

Zhang Qingsong, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, revealed plans to raise the single transaction limit for foreigners using mobile payments in China from $1,000 to $5,000. Additionally, the annual cumulative transaction limit will be lifted from $10,000 to $50,000.

To facilitate mobile payments for foreigners, Zhang stated that the central bank would guide major payment institutions like Alipay to streamline identity verification procedures and enable foreign users to link their mobile payment accounts with overseas bank cards more efficiently.

The initiative comes as China intensifies efforts to tackle payment difficulties faced by some foreign visitors who rely on bank cards or cash for transactions, while mobile payment prevails in China.

According to data from the central bank, nearly 4 million foreign visitors used mobile payment services in China last year, completing over 70 million transactions totaling more than 10 billion yuan ($1.38 billion).

Zhang highlighted a forthcoming directive approved by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, aimed at promoting the acceptance of foreign bank cards, enhancing cash transactions, improving mobile payment convenience, and optimizing account services.

Moreover, the People’s Bank of China, along with several government ministries, will establish a collaborative mechanism to implement the directive, underscoring the government’s commitment to enhancing payment experiences for foreign visitors.

Shi Zeyi, head of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s international exchange and cooperation bureau, emphasized the importance of maintaining offline ticketing services at tourist attractions while enhancing online and offline payment experiences for foreign tourists.

China’s inbound tourism sector has shown signs of recovery, with 3.23 million inbound travelers during this year’s Spring Festival holiday, according to ministry data.

Liu Chunsheng, an associate professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics, praised China’s efforts to enhance mobile payment services, noting that such initiatives would improve foreign visitors’ experiences and signal China’s commitment to global market expansion post-COVID-19.

The Central Economic Work Conference held in December emphasized the need to facilitate business, study, and travel for foreigners in China, setting the tone for broader accessibility and cooperation in the future.