Using Starling in China 🇨🇳


Not had the easiest time of things using in China. A lot of shops & restaurants only take cash or mobile payments (Alipay or Wechat, both of which you can only load money into from a Chinese bank account).

ATM withdrawals:
China Merchants Bank - worked fine
Bank of China - got as far as choosing how much to withdraw but then it said transaction failed
China Minsheng Bank - wouldn’t even accept the card

Anyone else had experience of using here?


Card acceptance is rather limited - China prodominately uses UnionPay, instead of MasterCard or Visa.

Large stores will perhaps accept MasterCard but most smaller stores will not accept it, or it simply will not work as their POS terminals are configured for UnionPay, WeChat Pay and AliPay.

Your chance of using MasterCard will vary depending on how “international” the location you are visiting is.

In China WeChat Pay and AliPay (mobile payment services) are used for the great majority of transactions, card transactions are rather unusual.

Even with mobile payments, a great majority of retailers prefer cash payment.