How to set up Alipay

Non-Chinese speakers can now use Alipay, too

Here's the best news you'll have heard all week (or maybe even all month) – Alipay is now available in English.

Yep, our greatest dream has come true. Okay, only the app has been translated at the moment, so the website is still Chinese-only, but we'll take what we can get.

For those of you who're still struggling with your yi er san's (that's 'one two three's'), no more having to beg your Chinese friends for their zhifubao accounts so that you can Taobao some fake sneakers.

The latest update to the app was released yesterday as version 9.2, with the biggest change being the new language options. Even if you don't speak a word of Chinese, you can now add a bank card, check your account balance, top up you account, transfer money and, best of all, make mobile payments.

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The core functions, including mobile payment, are now available in English.

The translation seems like a bit of a rush job, as a lot of the functions, such as the 'Discovery' and 'Friends' tabs, are still in Chinese. And once we click around a little, we start to realise that a lot of the English buttons actually link to completely Chinese pages. So maybe don't delete the contact of that nice Chinese friend just yet.

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The English app still needs some fine-tuning.

We also can't help but wonder why they didn't offer Alipay in English earlier, what with Alibaba's constant push for world domination.

Word on the street is that they'll be adding more functions catered towards foreigners with their next app update, which will be released later this month. Well, better late then never – and we're glad it's here in time for the online sales on Singles' Day.

Here's how to get started setting up an Alipay account and linking your bank card:

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1. When you first launch the app, you'll be prompted to select a language. We assume you'll be going for English.

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2. Complete your profile – this part is pretty self-explanatory. Just make sure you don't forget your password later.

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3. You'll get a text with a confirmation code. Type this in.

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4. Set your pay password. This is the code you enter whenever you make a mobile payment or transfer, so (note to self) definitely don't forget this one. You can change your settings later if you want to be prompted for the password with payments under 200RMB.

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5. Congratulations, you have an Alipay account of your very own! Okay, now you can finally access the app. This is what lies behind the curtain, folks. Go to the fourth tab, under 'Assets', and select 'Add Bank Card'.

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6. Enter your bank card number – this has to be a card issued in Mainland China. You'll be prompted for more details on the next page, including your name, ID info and registered phone number. The best part? You can actually sign up with a passport number. Hurrah!

7. You'll get another confirmation code texted to you. Type it in, and that's it!

Now that you finally have Alipay, you're well on your way to becoming integrated into the local Chinese community. Next step: brushing up those Chinese skills, perhaps?
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