Foreign nationals traveling in the Chinese Mainland can now easily make payments using WeChat and Alipay, two of the most popular mobile payment services in China. The best part is that these services now support linking bank cards issued by overseas institutions. As long as you get your international card and related identity documents ready, you are in for a seamless payment experience!
With WeChat, you can link your Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, and JCB cards, while Alipay supports Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, and Discover cards. By adding your international bank card to your WeChat or Alipay account, you can enjoy the convenience of making payments in various scenarios, including dining, transportation, hotels, supermarkets, and more. The payment options include QR codes, mini-programs, and password-free deductions.
Here’s a simple guide for you to start to register for the use of Weixin Pay (WeChat Pay) with international cards:
- Download or Update WeChat App: Ensure you have the latest version of the WeChat app installed on your device. Register with your phone number and sign in.
- Find Weixin Pay: Access the “me-service-wallet” section within the app to locate Weixin Pay.
- Fill in your Identity Information and Add a Card: Head to the wallet section and tap on “add a card”. Follow the on-screen instructions to provide your identity information and add your card.
A similar process could also be applied to Alipay. Applicants can simply download the app, add one’s bank card, tap “Scan” to scan the merchant-presented QR code, or tap “Pay/ Collect” and present the QR code of one’s own to the merchant.
In the process of registering for the use of Wexin Pay and Alipay, foreign nationals might run into some problems. Here are some answers to the questions foreign users might have during registration: you can use various documents like Passport, People’s Republic of China Foreign Permanent Resident ID card, Mainland Travel Permit, or Residence Permit for Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan Residents to set up Weixin Pay. A Chinese Mainland (+86) phone number is not required. Any international number that can receive SMS verification codes will work. While international cards can be used for everyday purchases within the Chinese Mainland, certain features like red packets and money transfers are not supported. Transaction limits include 6,000 RMB for single transactions, 50,000 RMB for monthly cumulative transactions, and 60,000 RMB for yearly cumulative transactions. The exchange rate is determined by the card organization and issuing bank of your international card. Transaction fees apply, but they are waived for single transactions under 200 RMB, with a 3% fee for transactions above 200 RMB, and proportional reimbursement for refunded transactions.
With these new developments, making payments in China has never been easier for international travelers. So, download or update your WeChat and Alipay apps and experience the convenience of modern payment!
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