- 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.