In 2022, the total value of China's ecommerce transactions surpassed 43.83 trillion yuan, which is roughly 6 billion dollars.
China is the second-largest economy globally based on GDP. Most importantly, McKinsey's report points out that its consumption continued after the pandemic thanks to the growing upper-middle to high-income classes.
This article will list all the top payment gateways with the preferred payment methods among online shoppers in China.
What Is a Payment Gateway?
A payment gateway is an interface that links ecommerce platforms to payment services, ensuring secure financial transactions.
In essence, when a customer enters their payment details on a site to make a purchase, the gateway validates the provided information and checks for available funds.
If the information is validated, the funds go to the merchant. If declined, the customer retains their money. This process protects both sides by only transferring funds upon verification.
📖 Tip: Read our payment gateway guide for more details about what it is, its types, and how it works.
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🔎 Note: All information provided is dated 7 September 2023 and may have been updated since. Please check each payment gateway’s website for the latest information.
1. Alipay Plus
Leading China's top digital payment service is Alipay e-wallet, owned by Jack Ma’s Ant Group and labeled as China's super-app (alongside WeChat), thanks to its comprehensive capabilities.
It has worked with over 200 financial institutions since 2004 to offer convenient payment solutions. Nowadays, 93% of Chinese customers are using Alipay.
Alipay Plus provides a payment platform for businesses, accepting Alipay e-wallet, major credit card providers, and other popular payment methods worldwide.
Alipay Plus Top Features
- Checkout payment with coverage for worldwide customers
- “Easy Pay” checkout page flow, which eliminates redirections
- “Auto Debit” which is a payment pre-authorization feature that drives repeated purchases
- Combined payment feature available
- Payment marketing and Alipay+ Rewards to boost customer satisfaction
- Compatible with various devices, such as mobile PC and TV
- API and SDK available
- Alipay accepts the following currencies for its cross-border and in-store payment solutions: GBP, HKD, USD, SGD, JPY, CAD, AUD, EUR, NZD, KRW, THB, CHF, SEK, DKK, NOK, MYR, IDR, PHP, MUR, ILS, LKR, RUB, AED, CZK, ZAR, CNY.
Alipay Plus Accepted Payment Methods
Alipay Plus Global Payment lists over 60 payment methods, which cover Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin America preferred channels.
- Digital wallet: Alipay, AlipayHK, Kakao Pay, Gcash, etc.
- Credit cards: UnionPay, Visa, Mastercard®, American Express, Discover, Diners Club
- QR Codes
- Bank transfer
- Online banking
Alipay Plus Key Usage Fees
Alipay and Alipay Plus have different service rates depending on how and where users access their services.
Pricing and fees can be viewed through your Alipay Merchant Account in the Merchant Portal, according to Alipay Documentation.
However, for cross-border payment products, the standard fees for website and app access to Alipay's payment services are as follows:
|Transaction value (RMB)
|Applicable rate per transaction (current calendar month)
|Less than 1 million yuan
|Between 1 million and 3 million yuan
|Between 3 million and 10 million yuan
|Greater than or equal to 10 million yuan
This outlines standard pricing to use as a reference. However, actual costs for your offline and online business may include additional applicable fees (such as merchant processing fees and more) and could differ from these numbers.
You will be quoted after you successfully register a merchant account with Alipay.
Alipay Plus Pros and Cons
- Accepts popular payment options, both domestic and international
- Detailed developer resources are available online in both Chinese and English
- Alipay requires Chinese residents' authentication for overseas in-store payments. Passport-only users will encounter errors.
2. WeChat Pay
WeChat is a multi-functional app that combines messaging, social media sharing, and mobile commerce capabilities. It was developed by the Chinese tech giant Tencent.
WeChat Pay is a payment feature within the app with hundreds of millions of daily active users, establishing it as one of the country's most popular payment methods, used by 86% of customers in China.
It supports various payment options, including quick pay, QR code scanning, web-based payments within apps, and native in-app payments.
WeChat Pay also facilitates international transactions by allowing settlement in major foreign currencies, even when payments are made in Chinese yuan.
WeChat Pay Top Features
- Integration with the WeChat platform
- A popular method of payment in China using a QR code
- A custom clearance product available in addition to payment products
- 16 currencies supported for quick pay, QR code, and in-app payment. This includes GBP, HKD, USD, JPY, CAD, AUD, EUR, NZD, KRW, THB, SGD, RUB, DKK, SEK, CHF, NOK
- 26 settlement currencies: USD,HKD, EUR, GBP, JPY, THB, CAD, KRW, AUD, SGD, NZD, RUB, CHF, SEK, DKK, NOK, AED, TRY, MOP, TWD, CZK, MYR, PHP, IDR, MNT, QAR
WeChat Pay Accepted Payment Methods
- Quick Pay
- QR Code Payment
- In-App Web-based Payment
- In-App Payment
- Mini Program Payment
WeChat Pay Key Usage Fees
No information is available online. Please contact WeChat via WeChat Pay Contact Us page
WeChat Pay Pros and Cons
- Widely used by Chinese consumers
- Support domestic and international business
- A unique customs clearance product
- WeChat Pay supports overseas merchants via direct agreements for fund settlement, but this “Direct Merchant” service currently only supports merchants registered in Hong Kong.
🔍 Tip: WeChat Pay is also on our list of the best payment gateways for Hong Kong businesses
UnionPay, or China Union Pay, is a financial services corporation owned by the Chinese government. Hence, all the biggest banks in China have an association with it. It is the leading card payment in China, surpassing providers like Visa and Mastercard®.
UnionPay also has UnionPay International (UPI), a subsidiary that focuses on the growth and support of UnionPay globally.
UnionPay International is accepted in 181 countries and regions and supports mobile payment in 99 countries and regions.
UnionPay Top Features
- Wide acceptance domestically and internationally
- All ATMs within mainland China accept UnionPay cards
- UnionPay QR code payments can be made at over 30 million merchant locations across mainland China. It is also accepted in 44 other countries and regions
- App users enjoy tap-and-go contactless payments at more than 7 million point-of-sale terminals across 82 different countries and regions
UnionPay Accepted Payment Methods
- UnionPay Card
- UnionPay QR Code
UnionPay Key Usage Fees
For merchant services, UnionPay charges a percentage of the commission fee subject to categories. Please inquire UnionPay Help Center for merchant more information.
UnionPay Pros and Cons
- Wide acceptance domestically and internationally
- Extensive product choices for developers
- Merchant support is only available in Chinese
PayEase provides third-party payment services in China and abroad, with the main products being internet payment, mobile payment, and cross-border payment.
It partners with corporate banks like China UnionPay, China Construction Bank, and Bank of China.
Moreover, PayEase has developed industry-focused solutions tailored for niches like education and training, aviation tourism, and cross-border ecommerce and collections.
It has 300 billion transactions annually, with 24000 merchants using its services.
PayEase Top Features
- Internet payment catering to both B2C and B2B payment
- Mobile payment
- Customized services according to client’s needs with technical support
- Supports quick access via app, HTML5, WAP, desktop, and SDK interfaces
PayEase Accepted Payment Methods
- Credit and debit cards
- International cards, including Visa, Mastercard®, American Express, JCB, Discover, Diners Club
- Mainstream mobile payment, including Alipay and WeChat Pay
- QR Code
PayEase Key Usage Fees
PayEase Pros and Cons
- Customized solutions and industry-specific solutions available
- Limited online resources in English
99Bill is another leading third-party payment service provider in China, with e-payment licenses from the central bank and strategic partnerships with 50+ financial institutions.
Its services support internet, mobile, and POS terminals, as well as electronic payments through various bank cards and major international cards, totaling around 3 billion domestic and international bank cards.
99Bill has over 103 million registered users and over 2 million registered merchants.
99Bill Top Features
- Cross-border mobile payment feature, enabling Chinese customers to make purchases from overseas retailers and proceed through mobile payment
- Gives international online merchants the ability to accept payments in Chinese renminbi (RMB)
- Reseller and merchant mode designed for ecommerce business owners
- Express checkout, allowing customers to securely pay with their 99Bill account password without re-entering credit card details, cutting the process short and encouraging repeated purchase
99Bill Accepted Payment Methods
- RMB currency-based payment methods
- Bank cards and international cards
- QR codes
99Bill Pros and Cons
- It focuses on helping the cross-border ecommerce market
- Limited online resources in English
Criteria for Selecting the Best Payment Gateways
To clarify how we arrived at these five solutions as the best payment gateways in China, here is a breakdown of what to look for when picking a payment gateway.
Any data breach risks disrupting operations, compliance, and reputation. Most critically, it jeopardizes customer trust.
Look for robust protections, including the following:
- Encryption of all data during transmission and storage with strong algorithms like AES and RSA.
- Authentication of customers and merchants through passwords, PINs, biometrics, or other verification methods.
- Fraud detection using monitoring of transactions and real-time alerts.
- PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), a security standard for businesses that handle credit card information.
- Regulatory compliance with relevant Chinese laws and regulations, particularly Chinese anti-money laundering law.
💡 Tip: Want to learn more? Check out this list of best security services for ecommerce websites.
Ease of Use
Therefore, ease of use should be on your list of considerations.
A clean, intuitive interface that supports popular payment methods, currencies, and languages can improve customer experience and increase checkout conversion rates.
Similarly, a well-designed dashboard can help you to implement payment processing efficiently.
Many potential issues can come up when using a payment gateway service, like disputes, refunds, and operational issues. Just imagine if your checkout page crashed during a sale.
Reliable customer support is a must.
The payment gateway provider should offer extensive support via multiple phone, email, and live chat channels. It’d be ideal if support is available in your language as well.
Lastly, when choosing a payment gateway in China, consider its integration capabilities with your platform.
Look for a gateway that provides
- API support: An application programming interface (API) used to connect and exchange data between your platform and the payment gateway provider’s system.
- SDK: A software development kit (SDK) helpful for customizing the gateway functions.
- Documentation: Documentation is a set of guides that explains steps to use each of the provider’s products, including the API and SDK.
- Technical support: In case of specific issues, a technical support team should be ready to assist you.
That's everything from our lineup of highlights!
In summary, if you want to attract customers and drive sales in China, set up a payment gateway that supports mainstream mobile banking options, specifically Alipay and WeChat Pay.
If you wish to cater to a more traditional payment method like a card, then your first choice should be a gateway that accepts the UnionPay card, which is the most used card among Chinese consumers.
What payment method is the most popular in China?
Mobile banking is the most popular payment method in China. Most Chinese people pay by scanning QR codes or in-app payments via Alipay and WeChat Pay.
What is the most popular payment gateway in China?
How can I integrate China’s payment gateway into my ecommerce website or app?
What is the benefit of using Chinese payment gateways?
What is the challenge of using Chinese payment gateways?