Top up/recharge your China Mobile or China Unicom mobile number online

If you are staying in China for a period of time and purchased a China Mobile micro SIM or nano SIM card, you can recharge/top up your mobile number online rather than purchasing a prepaid scratch card from street vendors or queuing up in the numerous telecom stores. The process of purchasing credits for your mobile number is as simple as with other countries, but is only recommended for those who have a China-based debit card such as ICBC, Bank of Communications or Bank of China.

To top up/recharge your China Mobile or China Unicom mobile number online:

1. Visit the applicable web page of your telecom provider:

China Mobile - http://www.10086.cn/gd/index_200_200.html

China Unicom - https://upay.10010.com/npfweb/npfcellweb/phone_recharge_fill.htm


2. For China Mobile, input the phone number without the country code (86) and select the amount in RMB. Click the highlighted button (color blue as of this writing). A check symbol will indicate that the number is an active and valid China Mobile number on the next page.

 


You can input your number and select the RMB amount on the Chinese home page of China Mobile. The field is found on the right panel of the screen.


For China Unicom, input the phone number without the country code (86). If needed, click the button next to the phone number field to check your balance.

 

The China Unicom top up page is fairly simple. The first field is for your phone number and checking your account balance. The second line is for your payment method (debit card is default) and the third item is for your RMB amount.


3. The China Unicom page has the option to select a payment method. The first option is selected by default for a standard online banking payment procedure.

4. Verify or select the value amount. The page will display the amount you will be charged as well as the credits added to your account.

 


Note: Both China Mobile and China Unicom give a small discount for using their online top up service.

5. Click the Next or Proceed button to continue to the payment page.

6. Select the issuing bank of your China debit card and follow the online payment procedure like normal.

Note: If you live and work in China, you're probably already familiar with the online payment process. Alipay or a standalone bank web page is displayed and you have to input the mobile number you provided when you opened your bank account and fill out a CAPTCHA code. You are then sent a 6-digit unique code to your mobile number, which you input to complete the payment process.

 

If you're a foreigner working in China, you probably have a bank account from one of the big banks in the Middle Kingdom (they're all government-controlled which makes it simple and arguably reliable from a technical side).

Once payment is complete, your smartphone receives a confirmation SMS that indicates the value added to your account. As a footnote, the popular social networking app WeChat actually has a Wallet feature for adding credits to your telco account, which locals agree is the fastest and easiest way to recharge your mobile number. Unfortunately, WeChat Wallet is only available if you registered your WeChat account in China using a China phone number.

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