How to Set Up WeChat Wallet as a Foreigner

September 04, 2019

If you are new to WeChat, you'll soon find out it is the most useful app ever. It is a great way to stay connected to friends, keep up with your China news, and even pay! In just three easy steps, we'll show you how to set up your WeChat wallet and pay on mobile wherever you are.

You can use WeChat to buy groceries, book a train or flight, pay your bills, top up your phone, transfer money to friends, and sooooo much more.

How to Set Up WeChat Wallet

Before you start, you’ll need:
  1. Your passport
  2. a Chinese phone number
  3. and a Chinese bank account (registered under said phone number)
-OR-
  1. a foreign credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, or JCB).

Step 1: Find your WeChat Wallet

Open WeChat and go to the “Me” section.

Me section in WeChat

Next, go to “Services” (previously called "Pay".

WeChat pay Services section

You should see your Wallet on the top right.

wechat wallet

    Note: If you do not see your Wallet, don't panic.

    Ask a friend to make a small test transfer (even just ¥0.01). When you click the transfer to accept it, you will be redirected to add your bank card.

    Your Wallet should also become visible.

Step 2: Add your bank card

Now that you are in your Wallet, select “Cards”. Add your card information.

If you are adding a foreign card, select the card provider (VISA, Amex, etc.) as your bank.

Add a card to wechat wallet

    Note: When filling out your name, it is imperative that you use the exact name that is linked with your bank card.

    This includes the spelling and order of your name(s).

    Take note that the name field in WeChat Pay is also case sensitive.

Follow the prompts on your screen. You will get a verification code on your phone. Once you have input the code, you can then set your payment password.

Step 3: Go shopping

That's it-you're done!

Bonus: Add a Relative Card on WeChat Wallet

If you want to give your child, parent, or visitor a measure of independence, send them a relative card! This will allow your family member to make purchases and charge them to your account, up to a limit that you set (maximum 3000RMB/month).

Step 1. Go into your WeChat wallet.

Click on "Relative Cards".

WeChat relative cards

Step 2. Click "Send"

send relative card on Wechat pay

Step 3. Pick one of the cards to send

You have four cards available to send: Father (1), Mother (1), and Child (2). Select the appropriate family member. If you are sending a card to a friend, pick any of the available cards.

Choosing a Relative card on WeChat Wallet

Step 4. Set the monthly limit and send the card.

Your relative now has 24 hours to accept the card before it expires.

Setting a limit on relative cards on WeChat wallet

Ways to Pay with WeChat Wallet

Now that your account is all set up, you can start your spending spree! There are a few different ways you can shell out your hard-earned yuan:

1. Pay by WeChat QR Code

Simply scan the QR code provided by the vendor and input the total.

Pay with WeChat by scanning QR

2. WeChat Quick Pay

Sometimes stores or restaurants will scan your payment QR code instead. To access your payment QR, go to WeChat Pay and click on "Money".

Wechat quick pay money QR

3. Pay Online with WeChat

When you go to check out, select payment by WeChat.

Pay online with wechat option

4. Pay within WeChat

Need to pay your utility bills? Top up your phone? Hail a cab? Just go to your WeChat Pay and select the service you need. (Many of these are run by third party services and are in Chinese.)

Pay inside wechat mini apps

There are also mini-programs, or apps built within WeChat, which you can find by using the Search feature.

5. WeChat Transfers and Red Packets

If you need to pay your friend back or send a little thank you, this is the way to go.

In your chat with your friend, hit the + button at the bottom.

Then select "Transfer" or "Red Packet", whichever you prefer. Enter the amount.

Making money transfers or sending red packets in wechat

    Note: At the time of writing, WeChat Pay's international credit card feature is still a trial program. Some payment features listed above may not be accessible if you link a foreign credit card.

Have questions on how to ease your transition to China? Learning Chinese can be a big help!