5 How to use Alipay in Singapore?:Step-by-step guide 2024

Claire Millard
Minami Ishii
Last updated
26 June 2024

If you’ve spotted Alipay and Alipay+ Singapore logos locally in stores and hawkers, or online, you might be wondering how to set up Alipay in Singapore, and more importantly - how to use Alipay in Singapore. Alipay is a super popular ewallet and digital financial services platform owned by Ant Group, which extends some services to Alipay Singapore users. You can use Alipay to pay in stores and online, at home and abroad.

In this article we will explore Alipay’s features, its advantages and disadvantages, and we’ll show you how to send money to Alipay users through other providers available in China, like Wise.

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Alipay personal account opening procedure

Let’s start with how to set up Alipay in Singapore. Once you have Alipay on your phone you can use it to access popular features such as scan and pay with a QR - here in Singapore, in mainland China and in many other countries. More on that later.

Here’s a quick step by step on how to apply for Alipay in Singapore:

  1. Download the Alipay app

  2. Follow the prompts to enter your country of residence

  3. Add your phone number

  4. Follow the instructions to link an eligible bank card

How do I get verified on Alipay?

Before you can use Alipay you may need to complete a verification step. This is common for many ewallets and similar money management apps, and part of how providers keep your account and card information safe. You’ll be guided through the steps to get verified with Alipay by on screen prompts - usually this will include uploading an image of your passport or NRIC to prove your identity.

How to top-up Alipay in Singapore

Next: how to top up Alipay Singapore. You don’t strictly need to top up Alipay as you’ll be binding a card which can be used to cover any payments you want to make. However, some accounts may also allow a balance holding facility which you can top up for future use.

Here’s how to manage an Alipay top up in Singapore, by adding and binding a card and using this for top ups and payments:

  • Open the Alipay app and head to the settings page

  • Look for the Bank cards button and select the add more option

  • Follow the onscreen prompts to enter your card data

  • You can then top up your account from your linked card if that feature is available to you

How to transfer money with Alipay

Alipay users in China may be able to access more services than you can if you set up your Alipay account in Singapore. That said, more and more features are coming online with Alipay Singapore, as Alipay partners with local providers, banks and similar to make their customers’ lives a bit easier.

At the time of writing, if you’re wondering how to transfer money to Alipay in Singapore using a local Alipay to Alipay transfer, you’re out of luck. This feature is not yet available to Singapore Alipay customers - but keep an eye out for more features coming to Alipay in future.

Can I transfer money from Singapore to China with Alipay? 

You can send money from Singapore to an Alipay account in China using a third party service. At the time of writing you can’t send from Alipay to Alipay. To get around this you can use an option like DBS Remit to send from your DBS bank account to a Chinese Alipay account. Or, you can use a third party provider like Wise, which will pass the CNY transfer on to your recipient quickly and with low fees.

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How to transfer money from China to Alipay in Singapore? 

It may be possible to send money from China to Singapore using Alipay, but whether or not this service is available depends on the status of the sender, their Alipay account and other factors. If you’re wondering how to transfer money to Alipay in Singapore you’ll have to have the sender check within their Alipay app, to see if the global remittance function is enabled. Generally this may be an option for mainland Chinese citizens, but not for expats, tourists and many other Alipay users.

If you’re expecting a payment from an expat in China, or anyone else who can’t easily send money from China to Alipay in Singapore, it’s worth telling the sender that they can use Wise to send money abroad. If the person sending you money is resident in China there are a few restrictions on using Wise due to financial regulations. You’ll be able to use Wise in China if:

1. You are a non-mainland Chinese individual (this includes people from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau)

2. You have earned and paid tax on a salary in mainland China after January 2019

If you have any questions about using Wise in China, you’ll always be able to contact the Wise customer service team in the Wise app through the chat function, to get help and advice.

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How to send money to Alipay recipients with Wise

With Wise, you can send CNY to Alipay users. All you need is the recipient’s name and their Alipay ID to complete the transaction. You can also receive money through Alipay free of charge when the sender uses Wise to transfer the funds.

All you need to do is:

  1. Log into Wise online or in the Wise app

  2. Enter the amount you want to send to Alipay in SGD, or how much should be received in CNY

  3. Enter your recipient’s Alipay information

  4. Fund the payment and the money is deposited to Alipay

To receive money on Alipay through Wise, your recipient must be a Chinese citizen, registered with a Chinese Mainland Resident ID card.

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How to use Alipay in Singapore?

The Alipay eWallet offers both online and in-store purchases to customers, giving you the flexibility to pay as you prefer.

  • Present and pay by showing your payment code to a merchant for scanning in store

  • Scan and pay by using Alipay to scan a merchant QR

  • Shop online and select Alipay at the checkout to pay with your Alipay wallet

How to pay with Alipay

Link your Singapore debit or credit card to Alipay to pay in stores and when you shop online, You can even use Alipay to buy food at a hawker centre.

Pay online with Alipay

Alipay is widely accepted for online payments, particularly in stores like TaoBao and others which are popular with Chinese customers. Look out for the Alipay logo at the checkout, and tap it if you’d like to use Alipay to fund your payment. All you’ll need to do is follow the prompts, to select the linked card you want to use, and confirm the purchase.

Pay in-store with Alipay 

Alipay+ is compatible with SGQR, meaning you can use Alipay to scan and pay in a huge number of stores, restaurants and cafes in Singapore. You can even use your Alipay wallets in about 11,000 hawker stalls, coffee shops and wet markets, making it a super useful tool to have in your pocket.

Can I use Alipay in Singapore?

Singaporeans can use the foreign version of Alipay in Singapore for in person shopping wherever you see an SGQR code. You can also use Alipay for online shopping once you have registered an account and bound a card to it.

Can I use Alipay without a Chinese bank account?

Yes. The Alipay version designed for foreign users accepts foreign bank cards. You’ll be able to add your Singapore issued credit or debit card to your Alipay account. Not all features available to users on the Chinese mainland are offered for foreign users of Alipay.

What is Alipay?

Alipay is a digital payment platform which is huge in China, and is increasingly being used across Singapore and the broader Southeast Asia region.

Alipay offers e-wallet services, online shopping, bill pay and ways to send and receive money conveniently. As Alipay is a China-based provider, not all services are available as yet here. You can’t send payments person to person directly from Alipay for example, or access Alipay’s wealth management tools. However, Alipay is accepted by SGQR code retailers, making this a simple way to pay when you’re shopping in person as well as online.

What is Alipay + 

As well as Alipay, you may also hear references to Alipay+. These are not actually both the same thing. While Alipay is an ewallet, Alipay+ works with payment service providers to allow merchants to take payments easily and using multiple different payment methods. If you’re using Alipay to make a cross border payment, the chances are that the technology that’s supporting it is from Alipay+, in partnership with local payment service providers wherever you happen to be.

How does Alipay work?

For Singapore users, you’ll be able to use Alipay once you’ve downloaded the app, registered an account and linked a bank card. You may be asked to verify your identity using a local ID as part of the registration process, and before you can use Alipay to make purchases. Once you have an active Alipay account you can scan and pay using SGQRs, or anywhere else you see the Alipay logo in China and in the region. You can also use your account for online shopping - just look out for the logo when you checkout.

Alipay fees

The Alipay fees you need to pay can vary depending on factors including the type of bank card you add. If you’re using an international bank card - so one issued outside of China - there are usually no additional Alipay fees when you spend. However, bear in mind that any charges linked to the card you’re using for payment will still apply. Read the terms and conditions carefully to see the range of fees that may apply for your specific Alipay account.

Advantages and disadvantages of Alipay

Alipay is a popular ewallet and payment service, but it’s not right for everyone. If you’re still not sure, here are a few more pointers to help you decide if it’s for you.

Advantages

  • Pay with QR in Singapore and when you travel

  • Usually no extra Alipay fees when you spend

  • Use Alipay to checkout online conveniently

Disadvantages

  • Not all features are available to Singapore users

  • Some fees will still apply - including underlying card fees

If Alipay doesn't suit your specific needs, or if you just want to compare your options more carefully - take a look at Wise. Wise offers both international payments, and account services including a card you can use for in person and online payments, as well as withdrawals. Fees are low and transparent and you’ll get the mid-market rate for currency conversion, too.

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Alternatives to Alipay

Singapore citizens and residents may not be able to get all the features available on Alipay - so if you’re looking to explore your options, check out these alternatives.

Wise

If you’re looking for easy ways to make payments overseas, and to shop online, Wise may be a low cost and flexible option. You can register a Wise account online or in app and hold a balance in any of 40+ currencies. Get a Wise card for online and in person spending, and whenever you need currency conversion you get the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. You can also use Wise to send money from your bank for deposit to an Alipay account in CNY, in China.

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WorldRemit

WorldRemit has some very flexible options for making digital payments overseas, including sending money to a bank account, for cash collection, to mobile money accounts or for airtime top up. This can make it a good alternative to Alipay if sending money abroad is your primary requirement.

Go to Worldremit

BigPay

BigPay is a well known and popular local ewallet and card, but did you know you can also use your BigPay balance to send international transfers to a range of countries? Use the BigPay ewallet to pay online and in person, and then consider using the remittance service if you need to send money from Singapore to someone in an eligible destination country - including China.

How to receive money with Alipay

If someone in China is eligible to send you money to Alipay, you won’t need to do anything other than make sure they have your Alipay details. The money will be deposited to your Alipay account directly.

What details do I need to give to the sender

If someone wants to send you money with Alipay all they need is your address and Alipay ID. This is usually the phone number you used when you registered.

Is Alipay safe?

Yes. Alipay is part of huge financial service provider, Ant Group. It’s well regulated and has been built with security in mind. This means it’s safe to use as long as you take normal common sense precautions to secure your own account.

Conclusion: Using Alipay in Singapore

Alipay is a super popular Chinese ewallet and financial service provider. Not all of the services available to Chinese citizens are available if you’re in Singapore, but the good news is that you can download Alipay and link a Singaporean bank card to make QR payments at home and abroad, and to shop online.

Because Alipay doesn’t offer all its services here just yet, you might also want to check out alternatives. If you need ways to send money overseas - including to Alipay users in China - take a look at Wise. You can send money to 160+ countries with the mid-market rate, and get a debit card for convenient online and in person shopping.

Go to Wise

FAQ: How to use Alipay in Singapore?

Can a Singaporean use Alipay in Singapore?

Yes. You can use the foreign version of Alipay to pay in person in Singapore anywhere you see an SGQR code displayed.

How can I set up an Alipay account in Singapore?

You’ll need to download the Alipay app, register an account and link a bank card before you can use Alipay. You may also need to complete a verification step using your passport.

How to top-up an Alipay account in Singapore?

You may not be able to top up your Alipay Singapore account, but you can bind a card to allow you to make payments conveniently in person and online. Once you’ve added a card to your account you’ll see within the Alipay app if it’s possible to top up your account from your preferred card.

How to transfer money to an Alipay account in Singapore?

Alipay customers in China may be able to send money to Singapore Alipay customers - however, this depends on the status of the sender’s account. If payments are offered you’ll just need to give the sender your Alipay ID to get your money.