I’m sure you’ve all heard of WeChat and have managed to set up your account. However, for many of you, it may have ended there. Finally, after years of feeling left out of the loop, us “Wai Guo Ren” (foreigners) can saunter up to a till point and nonchalantly wave our phones at the cashier. Has anything been more thrilling than this?!
The Chinese company Tencent announced today that it will be accepting international bank cards as payment through WeChat wallet, meaning you no longer have to go through the hassle of opening a Chinese Bank account. This guide will help you to achieve your dreams of scanning and paying!
A Step By Step Guide to add your Bank Card to WeChat Wallet:
Select the “Me” icon from the bottom menu in WeChat and then select the “Wallet” option.
Select “Cards” from the top menu.
This screen may be different for some of you but essentially you want to select “Add a new card.”
With this being China, you can either snap a quick pic of your card or manually enter your card number.
After this select your bank card. If your bank doesn’t appear go ahead and select Visa or Mastercard (whichever one is applicable) and then credit card (even if it’s a debit.)
You will then be asked to enter all you personal details in the following menu.
Good to know:
If your region is not shown, enter your closest city, and for your phone number it’s up to you whether you use your international or Chinese number!
After entering these details your card should be connected to your WeChat!
In some cases this doesn’t allow you to transfer money from your bank account to WeChat or pay with you bank card. However it does allow you to receive money from others, so I’m sure you can ask your Chinese friends to help out if you give them some cash! Then they can transfer you the equivalent value so it’s available for you to use on WeChat!
For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.
As we already mentioned in a post from last week, Wechat is becoming a great platform for online payment. But unfortunately there are always uncertainties about online shopping for foreigners in China. Chinese customers use Taobao and Wechat payments, but for the creation of the bank account they provide their own Chinese ID. That becomes an issue for foreigners that plan to stay longer in China, and blocks them from all the benefits of cheap online shopping.
We can inform you that there is a way around this. For WeChat payment a foreigner can create account in some banks and enjoy the freedom that this creates. Not all banks allow people from abroad to sign-up for WeChat payment. Some of them require a Chinese ID and the process gets you stuck. Here are a few options that will allow this procedure:
Chinese Merchants Bank – for both debit and credit cards
Agricultural Bank of China – credit cards only
These are the banks that we know of so far. We are certain that in the future this operation will increase as China becomes more open towards the foreign markets and many foreigners come to live here.
As mentioned in our earlier article, a person can add his credit or debit cards through the “Wallet” menu in WeChat. Simply press the “Add Card” option and follow the procedure.
The next menu will just ask for your card details and then if needed it will require the Chinese ID. But for the banks that we suggested there won’t be a requirement for Chinese ID.
WeChat offers a lot of extremely convenient functions which benefit everyone. After the credit/debit card is set up, a person can get access to each of these features:
- Mobile Top Up – top up your credit for the phone. Very convenient and easy.
- Wealth – Track your spending and savings in the account.
- Lottery – who feels like some gabling? It’s on the tip of your fingers.
- Order Taxi – Easy way to get a taxi if you are in a big city.
- Specials – Online shopping mall for any kind of products.
- QQ Coins – buy currency for your QQ account with an ease.
- Lucky Money – Send and receive money from friends or contacts.
- Group Buying – special offers for meals in restaurants. Reduced prices and promotions.
- Credit Card – send money to another card or account.
- Tencent Charity – Donate money for charity.
- Movie Tickets – Buy tickets for the cinema.
- Go Dutch – find a dining place, choose how much you would like to pay and meet new people on that table using the same program.
- Air Ticket – Buy plane tickets.
All these awesome features are easier and easier to access. Tencent is creating a dominant platform for online shopping and is challenging Alibaba on its own territory. But this struggle between giants benefits only us the simple customers, because we receive more special offers and reduced prices. Hopefully this article was helpful for every foreigner that plans to stay for a longer period of time in China.
Make sure you check our Blog for more amazing news and opportunities in China!