In late 2019, it was announced that WeChat and Alipay would allow people to add foreign credit cards to use mobile payments in China. When you consider how much easier it is to buy goods and services using WeChat in China, this is agiganticAdvertisement for expats and travelers to China. But does it work? And if not... what other options are there?
Previously it was only possible to connect a Chinese bank card (usually UnionPay) to your WeChat Pay or Alipay account.
For foreigners it meantopen a bank account in china, which requires a little time and patience, not to mention the long-term resident visa.
there is anotherother global payment solutions for China that are great, but these are alternatives to WeChat at best. If WeChat could accept Visa or MasterCard as payment options, life in China would be so much easier!
In early 2018, WeChat announced that it would accept foreign credit cards as an option on its platform. That was two years ago and, well...
... never worked (as many commenters on this article will attest).
Here's what you need to know about using WeChat in China, including my thoughts on itWisdom to give all your financial information to the Chinese government (hint: this is the key).
Conditions | Foreign credit cards and WeChat
In 2018, WeChat imposed a set of restrictive conditions on adding a foreign credit card to use WeChat Pay.
- First you had to download WeChat in China, which meant you couldn't set up WeChat Pay before arrival. That sucked.
- Second, you couldn't use a debit card; They only accepted credit cards.
It seems different this time. While it's unclear how WeChat will handle the change, Alipay has now released an international version of its app aimed at foreigners.
Here's what we know so far:
- WeChat accepts Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Diner's Club, and American Express cards (credit cards, not just debit cards);
- You don't need a Chinese phone number to register your account; This can be done with your foreign phone number.
- This appears to mark a relaxation of regulations for foreigners with WeChat Pay accounts.
You see, throughout 2019, many foreigners who previously had non-Chinese bank WeChat Pay accounts were terminated. Now it looks like that is about to change.
Adding a foreign credit card to WeChat | My experience
Disclaimer:Since WeChat has not yet released this new feature, I cannot be 100% sure that the process will be carried out like this. However, what I am about to show you is the current process of adding a foreign credit card to WeChat Wallet.
doesn't work at the moment.
When I open WeChat on my phone, the first thing I do is click "Me" on the bottom menu to find my "Wallet".
From here I can click on the "Maps" menu item. As you can see, I already have a WeChat wallet activated, so theoretically this should be easier for me.
I've already added my Bank of Communications card to WeChat which works great I might add.
However, I would like to see if I can add my foreign credit card. So I'll click add card and see what we can do here...
The first sign that things might not be going well is that I can't change the name of the map. He insists my name is "Summers Joshua [middle name]" because in China his last name comes first.
Sure, that's not what my name is on my credit card, but that's okay. We continue anyway.
After I've added all of my card information, address, and contact information, I'm ready to complete this process.
I press "Ok" and the card should (in theory) be added to my WeChat wallet.
And this is where things will change with this new WeChat and Alipay announcement.
I am currently unable to add a foreign credit card (as you can see from the error message above), but this should change in the near future.
Security Warning | That's a good idea?
Before we move on to some alternatives to add a foreign credit card to WeChat Pay, we need to address a very important question you might be asking:
Is it a good idea to share my financial information with WeChat?
That's a known factThe Chinese government has backdoor access to WeChat🇧🇷 This is part of life for Chinese people, but for those of us who can choose...
…Do you really want China to have access to all your personal data??
Please note that if you add your foreign credit card to WeChat, you must provide WeChat - and therefore the Chinese government - with the following information:
- Your verifiable identity:They need to know who you are, so you need to verify your identity with your passport, which means they have your real name and ID number.
- Your phone number:You must provide a business phone number with a text verification code to open a WeChat account. Now your name is appended to a phone number.
- Your address:Your credit card confirmation is attached to your address, so you must provide this.
- Your credit card details:Finally, you will be asked to enter your credit card information.
Wow...that's a lot of information that the Chinese government suddenly has access to. I don't know about you, but this is a bit scary.
I'm not saying you shouldn't do this; I mean it will certainly be a more convenient way to travel to China. But I want you to understand the kind of privacy you're giving up for this.
And if that seems a bit much, here are your other options.
Alternatives to using foreign credit cards with WeChat Pay
So, until foreigners have the ability to add credit cards to WeChat, what alternatives do we have to pay with WeChat or otherwise? Is cash the only option?
Fortunately, there are some solutions I mentioned above, but I'll elaborate on them here:
- Open a Chinese bank account: The easiest way to add money to WeChat Pay is to connect it to a Chinese bank account. Foreigners with residence permits are legally allowed to open an account and this usually takes only 1-2 hours. They issue a bank card instantly and you can add it to WeChat.
- Use a global payment solution(US residents only): I recently started taking ita new global payment solution called ECARD🇧🇷 It's a UnionPay branded card that gives me the ability to use any ATM in China and pay anywhere that accepts cards (which is better than Visa/MasterCard). I load the card with my US bank account (it's prepaid) and while I can't use it with WeChat, it works for pretty much everything in China. If you are interested, it isApply for an ECARD free of charge.
- point to point exchange: Of course, since many travelers in China don't have friends to send money to, you need to find another way to get money in WeChat. That's where something like aPeer-to-Peer Exchange Servicecan help. These services connect you with someone who wants US dollars for you to pay US$100 via PayPal or bank transfer. You in turn pay the corresponding RMB to your WeChat account. Unfortunately,This only works if you have already activated your WeChat wallet.
- Money:After all, it's perfectly acceptable to still use cash in China. It's not very easy, but it's possible. Many Chinese ATMs accept foreign debit cards and spit outChinese renminbifor you to use.
Conclusion | Foreign credit cards in WeChat Pay
System changes are coming, but for now we still have to wait to add a foreign credit card to WeChat Pay.
No one has given a clear timeline for releasing these changes (and it's been almost a year), so we're just waiting.
As a traveler or expat, using WeChat is convenient but not essential. do not be afraidGet money from a Chinese ATM.
And if you absolutely have to fund your WeChat Pay account, you can use the alternative methods above to do so.
Otherwise, don't try to add your foreign credit card to your WeChat wallet yet. In my experience it still doesn't work. I will let you know when things change.
Additional reading and resources
Pay with WeChat or Alipay in China | Guide for expats
Are you traveling or moving to China soon?
Download 44 Tips You MUST Know Before Traveling to China. These simple yet often overlooked tips canMake or break your trip!
Download the tips here
WeChat Pay currently only supports overseas credit cards. You need to verify the card number, expiration date, CVN2, and American and Canadian users need to verify the billing address while binding. Then you will receive a SMS verification code on the phone number you just filled in.Can you link foreign bank card to WeChat? ›
To sign up for the newly-expanded service, WeChat Pay users can add international credit cards directly to their digital wallets on the WeChat app.Can Americans use WeChat Pay? ›
You can only use WeChat Pay in the US if you have a bank account registered in China, Malaysia, South Africa or Hong Kong. This is because the WeChat wallet is linked to this bank account. This unfortunately rules it out as a payment option for most people except Chinese citizens and permanent residents.Can you get WeChat Pay without Chinese bank account? ›
To activate the payment function on Alipay or WeChat's mobile app, you'll first need to have either a China bank account or a Chinese bank-issued credit card. And to have either of these, you'll need to be a Chinese citizen or a resident with a valid residential address in China.Why is my credit card not working for international transactions? ›
“There can be many reasons why an international transaction of an active card is being declined. It may be because of FEMA rules violation, as the user may be doing a prohibited transaction, such as buying lottery tickets, buying banned goods, others,” adds Jhaveri.Which banks work with WeChat? ›
Tencent has collaborated with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, the Discover Global Network (including Diners Club), and JCB to allow people to link their international credit cards to WeChat Pay and use the app to pay for goods and services in China, including shopping, restaurants, transportation, and accommodation ...What credit cards does WeChat support? ›
The service works with Mastercard, Visa and JCB.Which VPN can pay with WeChat? ›
- NordVPN. unblocks wechatTested Jan 2023. ...
- Surfshark. unblocks wechatTested Jan 2023. ...
- ExpressVPN. unblocks wechatTested Jan 2023. ...
- CyberGhost. unblocks wechatTested Jan 2023. ...
- IPVanish. unblocks wechatTested Jan 2023. ...
- PrivateVPN. ...
- Atlas VPN. ...
- Private Internet Access.
- Log on to Net Banking with your credentials.
- Click on Cards tab and go to Debit Cards menu.
- Click on Request.
- Select 'Set International / Domestic Usage'
- Select the option 'Card to be enabled for International and Domestic Use'
Start in Me, tap into Pay , tap "..." menu on the top right corner and choose Switch Wallet Region to select the specific region.
This will take effect on 30 September 2022. “Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card, and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000.” In March, most Nigerian banks announced a $20 spending limit on international transactions using naira debit cards.How can I use WeChat in USA? ›
- Download and Install WeChat. Download and install WeChat on your device from the Play store or the App store. ...
- Select “Sign Up” and Insert Your Details. After installing WeChat, launch the app and click the “sign up” button. ...
- Agree to Terms of Service. ...
- Verify WeChat Account.
Data transmitted by accounts registered outside China is surveilled, analyzed and used to build up censorship algorithms in China. In response to a border dispute between India and China, WeChat was banned in India in June 2020 along with several other Chinese apps, including TikTok.What payment method does WeChat use? ›
How WeChat Pay Works. WeChat Pay is linked to users' Chinese bank accounts and/or Visa, MasterCard, or JCB cards. Once they enter their payment information into the WeChat app, they can pay bills, make peer-to-peer money transfers, and pay for items online and in-store wherever merchants accept WeChat Pay.Do you need credit card for WeChat? ›
The WeChat payment solution can be connected with your POS system. This way you can scan the WeChat payment QR code of the use. It's a much faster payment solution than cash or credit card. In this case, users don't even need to enter the 6-digital pin code to approve the payment.
- Step 1: Download Alipay and Sign Up with Your Phone Number. ...
- Step 2: Add Your Bank Card. ...
- Step 3: Enter Your Bank Card Info. ...
- Step 4: Confirm Your Phone Number and Other Info Registered With Your Bank. ...
- Step 5: Make Payments!
- Insert ATM card and Pin number.
- Select Other Transaction.
- Select Other Services.
- Select Overseas/Plus ATM Service.
- Select Activate (Temporary)
- Key in Identity Card Number and confirm.
- Remove ATM Card and take the receipt.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted worldwide. If an establishment takes credit cards, it's a good bet that your Visa or Mastercard will work. American Express and Discover have an international presence, too, but they are accepted by fewer merchants.How do I unblock international transactions? ›
Unblocking International Purchases
Select your credit card. Select Manage. Select Manage International Purchases. Select the Block International Purchases switch to turn off the blocking feature.
- Charles Schwab Bank: Best for using ATMs.
- Capital One 360: Best on foreign transaction fees.
- HSBC Bank: Best for expats with high balances.
- Citibank: Best for wiring money.
- Revolut: Best for nonbank multicurrency account.
Payment by Popular Apps: WeChat and Alipay. The two app payment giants in China are Tencent's WeChat and Alibaba's Alipay. So, basically, two companies (WeChat and Alipay) are the mainstay of e-payment in Chinese mainland. 64% of people in China use both.What apps can replace WeChat? ›
- WhatsApp. (www.whatsapp.com) ...
- Kik Messenger. (www.kik.com) ...
- Line. (www.line.me) ...
- Viber. (www.viber.com) ...
- Skype. (www.skype.com) ...
- Telegram. (www.telegram.org) ...
- Google Hangouts. (www.hangouts.google.com)
American Express currently has the lowest acceptance rates internationally. We recommend Amex cardholders carry a backup Visa or Mastercard, especially when travelling outside the United States.What is the most popular credit card in China? ›
How to prepare before travelling to China. Go with Visa or Mastercard. Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly accepted cards in China.Does Apple store accept WeChat Pay? ›
That means that you can now use WeChat pay for all of your Apple gadget and accessory needs. WeChat Pay isn't the only epayment system Apple accepts, of course. Obviously Apple's buyers can also use Apple Pay, and the Chinese version of Apple's online store also accepts Alipay, Alibaba's epayment platform.Can I pay WeChat with PayPal? ›
Hi, you can reload your WeChat and Alipay wallet using PayPal or international credit/debit cards on Vpayfast, you can also pay with your domestic currency, Vpayfast will transfer money to your WeChat and Alipay aftering paying. Can I use Alipay to send money from the US to China or vice versa?How do I pay with credit card on WeChat? ›
Step 1: Open "Me", go to "WeChat Pay", "Wallet", and select “Cards”. Step 2: Click “+” at the bottom of the page to add your card. Step 3: Enter your WeChat payment password to verify your identity.Which country uses WeChat most? ›
In 2022, WeChat touched 811 million users in China, accounting for 57.9% of the total population. In other words, approximately two-thirds of all users of WeChat are located in China. Starting at 968.32 million in 2021, the number of active users on WeChat is estimated to reach 1.102 billion by 2025.Can I pay using international debit card? ›
International debit cards allow you to pay for transactions abroad. You can activate international usage on your local debit card. You have to pay a nominal currency conversion fee for using local debit cards abroad. You may opt for global debit cards like forex cards, but they may prove expensive.Why my debit card is not eligible for international transaction? ›
As per the RBI guidelines, banks issues Debit Cards only for domestic usage unless international use is specifically sought by the customer.
- Your Bank Identifier Code (BIC). These are sometimes called 'SWIFT codes'. ...
- The intermediary BIC. Our Intermediary Bank (HSBC) BIC is MIDLGB22.
- Your full name, including your first name and surname.
- Your full address, including your city, country and postcode.
How do I remove WeChat Pay restrictions? In order to comply with relevant laws and regulations, WeChat Pay now requires real-name authentication for all users. For WeChat Pay users who don't have a China's Mainland ID card, you must provide your identity information.How do I remove restrictions on WeChat? ›
Use WeChat's support form for attempting to unblock your account. Send a verification code to the number associated with your WeChat account. Follow the instructions included with the code to try recovering your account.How do I change my payment location? ›
- Use your credit card issuer's website or app. Log in to your online account and change the billing address associated with your profile.
- Call customer support. ...
- Update your address via mail. ...
- Update your address in person.
For international sales, wire transfers and credit cards are the most commonly used cash-in-advance options available to exporters. With the advancement of the Internet, escrow services are becoming another cash-in-advance option for small export transactions.Can all Visa cards be used internationally? ›
Yes. Visa is globally accepted and hence considered as an international debit card.Is WeChat not working in USA? ›
The US Commerce Department has issued an order banning Americans from downloading Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat; it's due to come into effect on Sunday, September 20.Can non Chinese use WeChat? ›
Not All WeChat Accounts Are Created Equal
It's important to note that: Non-Chinese WeChat users have access to Both Chinese and Non-Chinese official accounts. Chinese WeChat users only have access Chinese registered accounts.
With more than a billion monthly users, WeChat is one of the most popular social messaging apps in the world, especially in China. No matter what country you're in, WeChat is free to download — but signing up for an account isn't so easy.Does VPN affect WeChat? ›
How Can I Use a VPN to Access WeChat? To access WeChat with a VPN, simply install the VPN app and connect to a server near you. Just make sure the server isn't in a country where WeChat is blocked, like India. Then, all you need to do is log in to your WeChat account as usual.
- Sina Weibo.
- TikTok (aka Douyin)
- Tencent QQ.
- Baidu Tieba.
- Tencent Video.
- Little Red Book.
Companies can create profiles within WeChat and can thus gain viewers and customers. A disadvantage is that companies are now part of this app that also contains the social aspect of a digital society, they can therefore invade people's privacy. Privacy is the major issue regarding WeChat.Can WeChat accept foreign credit card? ›
WeChat will accept Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Diner's Club and American Express Cards (credit cards, not just debit cards); You won't need a Chinese phone number to register your account; it can be done with your foreign phone number.Can WeChat Pay link to credit card? ›
WeChat Pay currently only supports overseas credit cards. You need to verify the card number, expiration date, CVN2, and American and Canadian users need to verify the billing address while binding. Then you will receive a SMS verification code on the phone number you just filled in.Can you add foreign credit card to AliPay? ›
You simply download AliPay from your App Store on your device. You will need to register a mobile number and set up your account. Once this is complete just link your bank card (Chinese account or now a foreign account is also possible) and you are good to go.What card can link to WeChat? ›
WeChat will accept Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Diner's Club and American Express Cards (credit cards, not just debit cards); You won't need a Chinese phone number to register your account; it can be done with your foreign phone number.What credit cards are accepted in China? ›
Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are all widely accepted in big cities in China. Depending on your bank, using a foreign credit card in China will usually incur a foreign currency exchange fee and a transaction fee from either your home or the local bank, which can add up fast.Can you link a foreign bank account to Alipay? ›
Alipay is now available to both Chinese nationals and foreign customers. If you've never used Alipay before, you can download the app, enter your information, and link your bank details. Alipay will now work with foreign bank accounts, as well as major credit cards like Mastercard and Visa.How do I set up Alipay in USA? ›
- Download Alipay: ...
- Enter your phone number: ...
- Select the international version: ...
- Choose Tour Pass: ...
- Load funds into the app: ...
- Enter your passport information: ...
- Enter your bank card information:
- Login to the Net Banking of your respective bank.
- On the home page, go to the 'Credit Cards' Tab.
- Under the 'Credit Cards' Tab, click on the 'Register New Card' button.