- Before, foreigners/ travelers kinda have to bring cash with them to China, which is very unsafe, inconvenient, and can be expensive (at the currency exchange places or even banks)
- Major western credit cards are not accepted in China other than in the Airport, 5+ star hotels, and huge malls in the biggest Cities. Most merchants(99.99%) like UnionPay network better.
- Alipay and Wechat are widely used but you can't apply for one unless you have Shenfenzheng (Chinese Citizen ID).
- Yes you could link your Visa/ MasterCard on Wechat, but not now anymore. For those who linked before 2019, your money still can't be spent via WeChat.
- High foreign transaction fee (around 3-8%) of most credit cards. Plus withdraw fee and other hidden fees!
But NOW U.S. residents bound for Asia can apply for this ECARD UnionPay prepaid card issued by Global Bank (FDIC member as other major banks).
- Super convenient cause you don't have to bring ANY cash with you.
100% acceptance rate in China (Its UnionPay network!)
- To spend in a mom and pop store, just withdraw cash from any ATMs.
- Load fund to ECARD with mobile app (link to your bank account) or load with cash$$ (call them and ask)
- Card to card transfer is instant and free with app.
- Fraud protection
- Now you are not gonna believe this: while only those UnionPay cards who start with "62" can enjoy UnionPay benefits and reward worldwide (up to 30%!!!) ECARD can as well! This is super cool. I've tried my favorite restaurant and shopping mall in Shanghai with 10% off!
- Doesn't check or influence your credit score. So it doesn't hurt to just get one before your trip.
- Also can use at home (I live in NYC) cause UnionPay is accepted wherever Discover is (in U.S). So, its really not an one-time use card JUST for this China trip.
Now if you want to check more, go to their website: www.ecardinc.com
I am a cardholder so I know when I "refer a friend" I get $10, and the friend(you) get $10 as well. use my referral code as a invitation code when you apply: RF008646.