🇨🇳 Monzo in China [Wiki]

I have lived in china for a long time now and I have to say monzo is the only banking app not requiring a VPN to get push notifications or even log in. Even HSBC is blocked. Monzo is a life saver for this but go knows how they seem to be the only UK bank not blocked. Oh amex app is also not blocked which is good too.

Just want to point out that this is absolutely not true so people are not misled. Monzo, along with most major UK banks, work absolutely fine in China. Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Starling and NatWest definitely work.

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This is fair enough.

No need for you to lie though about other brands/banks just because you prefer Monzo.

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Hello, can confirm this isn’t true. 2000 is the maximum you can top up in total. After you run out, that’s it. Multiple people have confirmed this.
From the Alipay Terms & Conditions "Bank of Shanghai shall limit the Prepaid Card purchase and recharge, with the minimum recharging limit of RMB 100 and the accumulative recharge amount shall not exceed RMB 2000. "

Sorry about that, I was the one who added the Alipay portion in, and that’s on me for not fully reading up on it (I have a Chinese bank account so I use “standard” Alipay and thus haven’t needed to actually go through this). I’ll go fix that.

No worries, dude! Just thought I’d flag it as I’m going to China on a business trip this week and some colleagues have confirmed the 2000CNY limit and just thought I’d let others know. Thanks for the update!

I’ll add in some instruction screenshots that Unicom put together to help others through the process.

Before that, anyone else can simply follow the instructions in the Alipay app by signing up and selecting International Version when prompted.

The Ali Pay app just let me add my Monzo card directly without any TourPass. I saw the active card check notification. When I press pay it shows up the bar code and everything. Does this mean I can just use it without the 2000 limit and without entering my passport details etc?

Nope, it won’t work. I’m not sure you’re in the right app though as it shouldn’t have let you do that.

You can use the Tour Pass which will require you to enter passport information and add your Monzo card to top up.

Even if you’ve got the QR code up it will fail for payments as there’s no balance or backup payment method.

Coming back to this, you might have AlipayHK installed instead (which I think allows basically any bank card). It’s not the same thing as Alipay proper in that it’ll only work at certain shops in Guangdong province only.

Wanted to add to this by asking if you have managed to use Revolut (the app and to pay) in China? I was in Shanghai in December and decided to take my Revolut card just as a supplement to Wechat pay (we have a Chinese bank account so that was no issue).
I couldn’t do anything on the app- it just appeared greyed out and would not load any transactions- I could not top up my card as well. Not sure if I was just particularly unlucky that trip as ExpressVPN was down during that week as well and I tried about 7-8 VPN apps to try getting on my work emails- no luck. Didn’t use Monzo there so no point of comparison.

It’s because the app during loading connects to some Google API and the app doesn’t move on from that unless it loads. The app itself isn’t blocked and Revolut say they’re working on a fix for it. If you’ve got the app loaded in the background it should work fine except for transaction location mapping.

Card works fine but the places are few and far between as with all Visa / MasterCards. Revolut card seems to work fine with Alipay International too.

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Ah that makes sense, I’ll just have to make sure my card has enough funds for my trip next time in case I run into the same issue. China has been cracking down on VPNs a lot late half of 2019, my friend there said there are not much internal/ international VPNs left you can use at the moment. Maybe they can make it so that you can freeze/ unfreeze the card without needing to pass through the Google API at least? All I need really

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In the meantime, unless you absolutely need a local number, I’d get an Asia roaming SIM that lets you use uncensored data in China, something like this. The initial starter is pricey, but another 8-day 4GB package is less than £10.

That aside, I’m considering updating the Alipay bit based on some reports online of people being able to top up 5000 RMB over the 90 days instead of 2000, but I wanted to see if anyone here has gotten the higher limit or not, instead of doing it and finding out that most people are still stuck with 2000.

Any ideas if I can use the Tour Pass balance to send red packets? (sorry for hijacking the thread, but its Chinese new year and i want to send a few packets to friends)

Should be able to. Give it a try.