"Sorry this service is only available for Chinese Mainland ID holders"

I have just setup an Alipay account specifically to buy one of your dictionaries. I couldn't pay directly by credit card as I don't have one. So I had to go with the other option.

I setup Alipay, added 500 RMB, then tried to pay Pleco. It then comes up with the message "Sorry this service is only available for Chinese Mainland ID holders", meaning despite me having succeeded on Pleco's website I presume the payment has not gone through. In fact it says it is still waiting for payment. Obviously I am not Chinese, and therefore do not have a Chinese ID card.

What can I do? Have any previous customers had this problem? I am furious at Alipay. I have now wasted 500 RMB on something I cannot even use. Why couldn't they have told me this before I registered. Why have an option for 'Foreign Passport' when you know that foreigners cannot use this. But it is also a shame that Pleco did not mention this (if you guys do know about it, perhaps I am the first though). I am amazed by how few options there are to pay for things - no Paypal, Weixin payments, and on the application shop that I use (Huawei) there is nothing for upgrades. It makes things difficult. Ironically I used to use the iPhone version where I bought three dictionaries from you very easily. Perhaps I should never have made the switch.

Any help with this? All advice is much appreciated.

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I *believe* for foreigners you have to have your AliPay linked to a Chinese bank account where you are the named account holder (and it needs to match you passport information). So, a payment them comes out of your bank account via being linked to your bank debit card. I’m not sure foreigners are allowed to do (edit 2) *international* cash transfers, which is what it sounds like you are trying to do.

Edit: I think both AliPay & WeChat pay have the same limitation.
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Hi Dunhuang17 and JD,

I googled, and Google says that JD is right:

Perhaps you could arrange a special payment to Pleco using PayPal.

I would try getting a free prepaid debit MasterCard or VISA the next time you are in the US or Europe. Then the hassle should be limited to recharging that debit card once in a while.
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Likes: JD


Staff member
Sorry about that - I'm afraid they have been very inconsistent about this in the latest iteration of Alipay-for-Stripe and we honestly didn't know they were still rejecting foreigners until you posted this (we'd received only ambiguous information about it so far). I've now added a warning to our checkout page about that.

We've actually been told by Stripe that WeChat Pay is not subject to that restriction, and we're considering implementing it in our store too, but it's a lot harder to support than Alipay, and we're wary of doing it only to find out a week later that actually yeah foreigners can't make payments with it and we've wasted a bunch of programming time on nothing.


Staff member
We did end up implementing WeChat Pay support, so you can try that now at store.pleco.com. (most of the effort involved will also translate to other asynchronous payment methods we plan to support in the future, like various European direct-debit ones, so if we end up throwing away the WeChat portion of that code it still won't be a total loss)

Stripe tells us that it works fine for foreigners, but we haven't been able to definitively confirm that yet, and of course as I mentioned in my previous post that could easily change with zero warning; still, if you feel like attempting to buy a Pleco add-on from your WeChat account you're certainly welcome to try, the worst thing that'll happen is that you'll get an error message.

(Also, with WeChat we support QR codes as well as referral links, so even if you have to ask a Chinese friend to pay for you it'll be a lot easier - you can queue it up on your phone and ask them to scan it on theirs)
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