Life in China Made Easier: Utilities


Staying on top of your bills back at home isn’t always an easy task and staying ahead of them in China can add a little more difficulty. In a fairly developed city like Shanghai, there are thankfully many convenient options for paying your utility bills. Although there are many options to pay, majority of these options are not directed towards or designed for foreigners. Not all hope is lost though because in this installment of Life in China Made Easier, we give you some pointers and guide you on how to easily pay your utility bills.

Convenience Stores
One of the more basic ways to pay your utility bills is to visit your local convenience store. Of the ones that we are familiar with, you should be able to walk in, head directly to the counter and hand your bill over to the cashier. They will then begin the bill payment process. Keep in mind that majority of convenience stores only allow cash payments for bill pay. This could be because they want to ensure that they have been paid-in full before they then pay the bill for you. When you pay your bill through a convenience store, make sure to go a few days to a week before the bill is due, as it may take a few days before the payment is completed. Also before you go, make sure to get your original bill back with a receipt.  Here are the following convenience stores that we know can assist(if you know of others let us know) with bill payment:


On the back of each bill that you get in the mail, there will be some text describing the different ways that you can pay your bill. Among the options, there should be a few websites listed where you can pay your bill. One of the common ones is To use this website you must first register, if you aren’t registered already. 

Once registered and signed in to the system, you are greeted with the following page, this page gives you an overview of your account and allows you to select which utility service that you would like to pay for. Click “Pay Bill”(付账单)in the top menu on the right displayed below. 

After you click “Pay Bill” you will be presented with the next screen which is where you enter in your the information from your bill so that the system can find your account and the amount you owe. Here are the steps needed to find your bill: 

  1. Select Service
  2. Select Your Service Provider(in Chinese, compare the names against your bill)  
  3. After that you must select whether if you would like to use your account number or the barcode number to look up your bill. Both are available on the front of your bill. See the picture to the right for reference. 
  4. Enter in either your account or bar code number
  5. Select the billing period of the bill you’d like to pay. 
  6. Click confirm. 

After clicking confirm you will see the amount that you need to pay. If the balance is correct, click “支付“ to pay. Once you click “支付” you will be presented with options to pay. See below.

For the purpose of this article we are going to select “WeChat Pay”. To pay with WeChat pay you have to make sure that you have set up WeChat Pay on your device. Here is a tutorial on how to set that up. To pay with WeChat, pull out your phone, scan the QR code and voila! Your bill has been paid.


In addition to the options above, you can also use WeChat to pay your bills directly through the app. Just fire up the app and head to the “Me” tab on the bottom right then tap “Wallet”. Yet again, this requires you to have already set up WeChat pay on your device, here’s how.

After reaching the “Wallet” screen, you will we presented with various options to spend your money. In the middle of the screen there should be an option called “Utilities”. On the “UItilities” screen you will see options to select a service type. Once you have selected a service, service provider(if your’s is not in the list, it may not be supported) and entered in your account information, you should see your most recent bill. Just tap the green “Pay Bill”(立即缴费)button to pay.

Now that you know how to make paying your bill easier, get on out there and handle your bills the way the locals do! These are not the only ways that you can pay your bills. For example, some of the same features WeChat Pay offers, Alipay offers as well. Are you using one of the methods mentioned above? If not, make the world a better place by sharing your knowledge and let us know how you like to get your utility bills paid in China.




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