WeChat Pay to allow the binding of overseas Visa cards in mainland China

During the 2023 Summer World Economic Forum, Chinese tech giant Tencent made an announcement that starting from July this year, WeChat users would have the ability to link their overseas credit cards issued by Visa to the popular messaging and payment app.

This latest move aims to enhance the payment experience of foreign users in China, granting them the convenience of using WeChat for transactions while travelling throughout mainland China. Previously, foreigners in China had to set up a Chinese bank account in order to access WeChat or Alipay. In fact, many of them often found themselves unable to make payments since many shops and restaurants in China now exclusively accept mobile payments rather than credit cards or cash.

The announcement aligns with Alipay, a subsidiary of Ant Group, which also disclosed that the Chinese version of Alipay would accept Mastercard credit and debit cards issued across various locations. 

Both Tencent and Ant had previously established partnerships with Visa and Mastercard in 2019, intending to make foreign cards usable on their platforms. However, due to the onset of the pandemic and China’s closed borders, the initiative was temporarily put on hold.

With China having reopened its borders to all visa types, this initiative is now back on track. In a statement released on June 28, Tencent stated, “Our efforts to further open payment services to visitors coincide with the full resumption of travel and tourism to China, as well as major upcoming international events in the country.” 

All in all, Tencent and Ant’s renewed initiative not only facilitates smoother transactions for foreign users but also allows the platform to tap into the lucrative opportunities brought by international consumers visiting the country.


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