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Tencent introduced WeChat payments for foreigners in China
When it comes to WeChat and its business optimization, Thomas Graziani is probably one of the most significant voices in China. We have met the co-founder of WalktheChat in Beijing. We discussed about Wechat payments for foreigners in China.
WeChat is aggressively trying to expand outside China. Its main targets are South America, Africa and other Asian countries. Therefore, it seems natural that foreigners can use WeChat payments in order to handle their purchases. This function is also available for foreigners living in China and using Chinese banks, although not with all banks.
Where to find WeChat payment?
You can access WeChat payment through the “Me”=>”My Bank Cards” tab of WeChat. If you can’t find this tab, you might want to switch your WeChat settings to Chinese for a bit in order to see if it solves the problem.
What can I do with WeChat payments?
WeChat payments offer a lot of extremely convenient functions, including for foreigners in China:
– Order taxi (Didi dache) enables you to conveniently call a taxi from most big cities in China. It is the software that you keep hearing in cabs in Beijing getting calls from customers everywhere in the city
– Mobile Top Up (wonderful function, no more need to go online or buy tons of top-up cards)
– e-commerce, in partnership with Jingdong in which Tencent recently took a 15% stake
– Money transfer to other WeChat accounts
– Go Dutch
– Integration with Dianping to buy “groupon-style” meals (in which Tencent also invested)
– Movie ticket booking
– Air ticket booking
– Financial products
– Charity donations
Needless to say integrating your bank card to WeChat can simplify your life quite a bit.
Which banks can I use to register myself on WeChat payment?
Not all banks let foreigners sign-up on WeChat payment. Some of them will require a Chinese ID and you’ll get stuck in the process. Here is data as of 21st of July 2014 for major Chinese banks:
– China Merchants Bank: possible with both debit and credit cards
– Agricultural Bank of China: only for credit cards
– All Mastercard, Visa and JCB cards: possible (although foreign bank cards can’t be used for all purpose. For instance p2p money transfers aren’t possible with foreign accounts)
– All other banks (including Bank of China, ICBC, etc…): not possible, requires Chinese ID
How to register a new card?
When you entered the “My Bank Cards” panel the process is very straightforward: simply select “Cards” on top top-left corner and then “add a card”.
You will be prompted to enter your card details: enter your card number, personal details and phone number and there you go.
New swipe card function
WeChat just introduced a “swipe card” function (competing with Apple Pay) that you can use in order to pay at the cashier. The function displays a QR code that the partner vendors can scan and which will directly charge any amount bellow 300 RMB without having to enter a password (you however will have to input one for amount above 300 RMB).
This function will soon be combined with more after-sale services enabling you to get discounts or track your previous purchases. So WeChat will make your shopping experience more integrated even beyond the payment systems.
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