WeChat allows users to link overseas credit cards

Tencent's latest relaxation will benefit those in mainland China that don't have credit cards issued by local banks.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

Expats living in China and residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan are now allowed to bind and activate WeChat Pay accounts with credit card services provided by MasterCard, Visa, and JCB, according to a Sina news report.

In mainland China, mobile payments range from purchasing cars to paying for a bottle of coke, and many expats had complained of being unable to enjoy cash-free services due to not owning a locally issued bank account, which needed to be linked to the WeChat account for payment.

Now WeChat users without a Chinese bank debit account or a credit card can activate WeChat for mobile payments in China, Tencent said in a statement, adding that users will need to download the mainland-WeChat version to open up services.

After activating WeChat payment account, expats, just like the hundreds of million Chinese WeChat users, are able to pay for a cab via an app, rent sharing bikes, or place orders for takeaway food.

A 2017 Tencent report indicated that nearly two thirds of foreign residents in China used WeChat Pay to make payments in the country.

During the second quarter of 2017, mobile payments in China reached 23 trillion yuan ($3.6 trillion), up 22.5 percent from the previous year, according to a local research agency. It added that the market was dominated by two major players, Alibaba and Tencent, owning 53.7 percent and 39.1 percent of the market share respectively.

WeChat's global users are reaching 1 billion, Tencent also previously announced. In China, about 600 million people are using WeChat to communicate with others, making it the most popular messaging tool in the country.


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