Cash on Delivery Still Preferred

Got an email today asking me whether he has successfully booked air ticket via The question was, he was not asked for details of credit card information (such as credit card number, holders name) while the system just reported the hotel and flights were booked successfully. He thought it was strange and want to confirm whether he booked it or not.

I checked and found out it may be a common question for people using websites in China.

Cash on Delivery Still a Good Collection Model

On the checkout page of elong, they have two options for getting the ticket – one is Deliver to door, the other is self-pickup. To deliver the paper ticket (may not be necessary now), they send a person to the address you specify. For the pickup, you have to go to one of their two offices in Beijing to get it.

For the payment, there is only one option: cash on delivery. That means, you have your cash (please note, cash, instead of credit card) ready, and when they deliver the ticket to you, or when you pickup your ticket at your counter, you pay the cash.

Cash on delivery is still a mainstream payment method for flight booking sites like, and online book store ( is almost over after acquired by

Obviously these two methods are not suitable for people outside China. However, it is a very good way to do business in China. Considering the very low adoption rate of credit card, and even rare of customer acceptance, cash on delivery is a good option. Now, many people have debit cards, but credit cards still have a long way to go.

11 thoughts on “Cash on Delivery Still Preferred

  1. why is there such a distrust of credit cards in China? credit cards are widely accepted in Europe and other countries.

  2. well, I got to know about this door-to-door services while I am staying in Shanghai. I guess China is a labour intensive country. They can afford to use manpower to deliver the ticket to your doorstep hence show appreciation of using their services. During the delivery the Cunsumer can ensure that the goods they purchased meet their expectation. Isn’t that good for the Consumer?

    p.s: Credit card is not widely use in China yet.

  3. In America Don’t think about using COD (Cash on Delivery) its full of hassle and inconvenience. We use Cred/Debit, check, Paypal or BillMeLater which is probably more secure and easier to use than COD

  4. Isn’t COD a lot cheaper for the company? I’d think paying some random guy 2000 a month to collect payments to be much cheaper than paying service fees to some western credit institution.

  5. I’m in Beijing.

    I don’t use COD for joyo, dangdang and ctrip for more than 2 years.

    Credit cards work for me all the time.

    They deliver tickets, books to me and I pay with credit card with no problem.

    (They even delivered e-ticket once, I don’t understand why.

    Anyway, I don’t need to pay the deliver fee.)

  6. It is funny that they deliver e-tickets – people still need time to get used to it. COD IS cheaper than bank cards in the same city, and it is more convinient.

  7. I use my creditcard all the time with Ctrip, it meets my needs at least for now.

    But with Dangdang, it will be easier to use COD since the online payment system works not very well.

    I do not use PayPal at all although I work for the Company…

    That is very interesting, isn’t it?

    Online payment is not working well in China, the system is not stable and sophisticated enough and remember all the different pincode troubles me all the time.

    Why Ctirp works? – They are not using online banking, they acts as offline merchant as most of restraunt do, when you get the ticket, you sign the confirmation letter and that is it…

    Why internet bothers?

  8. shanghai city is good city for studying the language .

    foreign people is comfortable at shanghai city.there are many restaurant at shanghai.


  9. I have an account with Ctrip and actually their online payment was not that bad and quite secured. Never tried Elong, but didn’t know if I will ever try. I got botherred every time by their temps at the airport insisting on giving out the membership card even after you say no and they can go on and on for hours!

    For biz travel, AmEx offers a quite good service as well.

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