How to recharge a China Mobile card in English

The title of today’s post suggests this has been something I’ve found difficult to do without the help of the lovely lady in the convenience store who obviously thinks I’m as retarded as I look.

However, today the shopkeep’s daughter was crying in the store and she was pre-occupied with other customers so I got the card and went on my merry way. Now, the problem with recharging the card is that the English instructions aren’t very clear, in fact, they are downright confusing. However, I don’t blame China Mobile – I live in a country of a bazillion Mandarin speakers so I really should be able to understand the Chinese instructions better.

But, I don’t (yet). So, if you’re in the same boat as me then follow these instructions on how to set up and recharge a Chine Mobile pre-pay account. Don’t try and understand what is being said…just follow these instructions:

1. Purchase a pre-pay sim if you don’t already have one.
2. Put it in your phone
3. Purchase a China Mobile pre-pay recharge card
4. Scratch off the coat to get the PIN number
5. Dial 13800138000
6. The automated service will begin. Press 2 for English, then press 2, then press 1#, and then 1 to confirm.
7. You will now be prompted for the PIN number which is the scratched off bit on your card. After entering it hit the # key.
8. It will say something like ‘wait a minute’ before it confirms that your card is now charged and ready to go. If you have fat triangle fingers and screwed it up then go back to 7.

That’s it. At any time you should be able to ring up 10086 and find out how much credit you have left on the pre-pay account. Normally you’ll get 1-2 txt messages a day warning you before it’s over as well. If you’re expecting important calls it’s noteworthy to not let it expire as people won’t be able to call you if you don’t recharge the card.

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11 thoughts on “How to recharge a China Mobile card in English

  1. Kevin

    If the recording in Shanghai is the same as the one in Beijing, it makes a lot more sense after you realise it’s supposed to be 2 different options rather than a sequence of instructions. You can either recharge your own account by pressing 1#, OR you can enter the number of another SIM card followed by #. It shows you how much difference one missing word can make – I didn’t understand it until I listened to the Chinese version.

  2. Jeff

    There is a much easier way by utilizing SMS(text message). After obtaining the recharge PIN number, simply send a text message “CZ PIN number” to 10086. If done correctly, you will receive several replies from China mobile in Chinese. CZ is short for “Chu Zhi”, which means “recharge” in Chinese. You can also send “YE” to 10086 to check for your remaining balance. As “Yu Er” is “leftover balance” in Chinese. Hope this helps.

  3. Dan

    I had some problems getting this to work… should the message by like CZ 9999999999 or CZ PIN 9999999999 ?

  4. jeffrey

    looks like CM is taking my balance money after due date!!! that mean i need to recharge again!!! example: if my balance is 50 yuan nad after recharge 100 yuan is suppose to be 150 yuan. but not at CM.

    all balance will be confiscate!!!
    how can this happen!!

  5. ls

    This information is helpful for one who wants to ACTIVATE their China Mobile sim card but not for one who simply want to recharge it.The number 10086 starts in English then goes to Chinese.

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