🇨🇳 Monzo in China [Wiki]

(Mike) #1

This is a wiki crowdsourced by the Monzo Community to help you travel with Monzo.

Just like Wikipedia, anyone can edit it to help out others. If you have any tips or feedback for visiting China with Monzo, please feel free to edit this guide. You can also add a comment or question below — someone will then incorporate your comment into the main text below and then delete your comment. To create your own “Monzo in …” guide if one doesn’t already exist, just copy this template into a new post and write away!

Safe travels! :wave: :airplane:


China uses the Renminbi (yuan; ¥)

Card usage

UnionPay is a major card issuer in China so you may find foreign cards being not processed correctly. You shouldn’t have a problem in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing.


Make sure your magstripe is enabled every 24hours from your settings menu.

Payment and withdrawal limits

All Monzo cards have some payment and withdrawal limits. To check yours before you leave, go to your Profile section of the app and tap on Limits.

Crowdsourced merchant data

Data will most likely be scant so please try and contribute relevant feedback about transactions :slight_smile:


Try one of the interesting ways to pay including WeChat that is a popular chat app that allows mobile-wallet transactions to other users!

To edit this guide, just tap the pencil icon below. Alternatively, add a reply with your comments and someone from the community will incorporate your suggestions into the guide and then delete your comment.

:cn: Monzo in China [Discussion]

Just spent a week in China and used the Monzo card in hotel ATM. The machine allowed me to withdraw only R1000 per day.

Also, tried to pay for purchases at two separate shops and to settle my hotel bill but card was not accepted by the terminals. Disappointed.

(Abe) #3

Not long returned from China (Shanghai) and no problem. Even liked the feature that popped up reminding mt to but the “Magstripe ATM” on! The card was better than my company card and lucky I took my Monzo card with me or wouldn’t have been able to eat that day!

FYI/ NB. Chinese retailers prefer cash payments (from my experience) than card

(Martin) #4

Hi I’m currently in china and have used the card twice in board River Cruiser no problem but was unable to use it at the local museum, I haven’t tried to withdraw from an ATM yet.

(Martin) #5

Ref. ATM when the card is entered will the language change to English? Thanks

(Martin) #6

Hi I’ve just withdrawn from an ATM in China Yes it did come up in English when I entered the card and I just followed the prompts No problems :+1::+1:

(Bowen) #8

Just a tip. If you are going to first tiers cities (yeah Chinese tier their cities) like being Shanghai Shenzhen Guangzhou. you probably have no issue using the card all day round as long as you enable megnetic strip witdraw.
Now this is the fun part. If you are not in first tier cities. Remember local back branches might turn off the international transaction function in their ATM :triumph: so do try ALL banks like bank of China ICBC CCB etc. Try all ATM with MasterCard logo on.
So far has not had issues on using card payment on POS which support MasterCard. And no Chinese bank don’t give out cash back at POS.

(Bowen) #9

Actually now they prefer alipay or WeChat pay

(John MacLeod) #10

WeChat and Alipay are certainly very widely used. WeChat is particularly useful as the major social media programme in China but charging a WeChat account appears impossible at the moment for a foreigner without a Union Pay account. It would certainly revolutionise things for tourists outside the major cities – and even within them at minor stores, taxis, etc. – if there were a method of putting money through Monzo into a WeChat account.

(Bowen) #11

Wild imagination. Maybe Monzo will be the first UK bank supports alipay and we chat pay tight up. Since these two payment solutions is eager to enter european market. And Monzo does have competable hardwares. Although there will be regulations on both country to get over. Maybe.


It is things like joining WePay and SOFORT or offering a Maestro or UnionPay option that would create a real USP for a fintech but most seem not to want to smash the mould of british banking just reshape it slightly :wink:

(Bowen) #13

Any bank who did that. Or at least offer an option to allow user join Wepay or unionpay would attract the large incoming Chinese students and invested a and traveller as their customers. Plus probably brownie points to get head start in their deployment and not to mention good will from the Chinese market :star_struck: in my humble opinion


Hello, I’m just here to add some helpful information. I couldn’t see the icon to edit the wiki itself.

Firstly a note about the most popular way to pay in China: mobile wallet applications Wechat (Wēixìn) and Alipay (Zhīfùbǎo). Almost everybody (shops, restaurants, market stallholders, street food stallholders, cinemas, taxi drivers, friends) and everything (phone charging stations, vending machines) accept payments from either or both applications.

Currently (June 2018) you won’t be able to pay or add credit to the mobile wallets using your Monzo Mastercard, even if you have an account that has been real name verified with a Chinese mobile phone number and linked to a Chinese bank account. You can add your card to the mobile wallet, but you won’t be able to do anything with it inside China. If you are in a city, have a Chinese speaking friend, and have a few free hours, open a bank account in China. Take your passport to get a Chinese SIM card and then use your phone number, passport and National Insurance number and try to open a bank account at one of the bank’s main branch. You may have to visit several different banks in order to find one that will open an account for you, especially if you have a tourist visa, so be prepared to use cash during your visit.

Secondly, ATMs. You will definitely find ATMs in cities that accept your Monzo Mastercard and allow you to withdraw Chinese RMB: look for the Mastercard symbol above the machine. There are many different banks in China, each with their own machines. ICBC is one of the main banks. Most of their machines (located in larger hotels, bank branches, and 24 hour self service rooms) will take Mastercard and allow you to use the machine in English after you have inserted your card. You may have to select to withdraw cash from your “credit card” if you are presented with an option to withdraw cash from a checking account, bank account or credit card.

Thirdly, the Monzo app. I had no problem receiving push notifications or using version 2.2.0 of the app on Android over cellular or WiFi in China. I didn’t need a VPN. This may change, however, and it’s difficult to give a definite answer before you arrive.

Hope this helps somebody - I’d be happy to answer questions if there are any.

(Valeri) #15

Also Citi Atms work faultlessly too (tested in Shanghai).