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WeChat Pay is a digital wallet service owned by Chinese social media giant WeChat (also known as Weixin), which lets users make mobile payments and online transactions.
But the big question for anyone living in the United States is - does WeChat Pay work in the USA? And can you send and receive money with a WeChat Wallet if you live outside of China? We’ll answer these questions.
If WeChat Pay isn’t an option for you - try the Wise account.. It lets you send, receive and manage 40+ currencies at once, including USD and CNY.
The good news is that WeChat Pay is available in the USA¹.
WeChat Wallet was initially aimed at Chinese tourists visiting the US, but it’s also a handy mobile payment option for expats and international students living here.
In terms of which stores accept it as a payment method, you’ll need to look out for the WeChat Pay sign or inquire with the retailer directly.
You can only use WeChat Pay in the US if you have a bank account registered in China, Malaysia, South Africa or Hong Kong. This is because the WeChat wallet is linked to this bank account.
This unfortunately rules it out as a payment option for most people except Chinese citizens and permanent residents.
If WeChat turns out not to be a viable payment option for you, take a look at the Wise account as an alternative.
When you open your Wise account for free online, you’ll gain access to a powerful multi-currency wallet. You can hold USD, EUR and 40+ other currencies at once, and switch between them when you need to. Send money worldwide in just a few taps, for low, transparent fees³ and the mid-market exchange rate.
And for a small fee³, you can even order a Wise international debit card for use in 174 countries, which automatically converts currency at the best rate whenever you spend.
See how much you can save with Wise:
It is possible for foreigners to set up a WeChat Wallet, but you might need to download the international version of the app.
It can also be tricky to register your account, as you’ll need to go through a process of real name verification². This requires providing identity documents, a photo of yourself and full personal details in order to prove your identity information. You may also need to provide a Chinese phone number, which again makes it difficult to access the WeChat Wallet outside of China.
If you get this far, you can then only use WeChat Pay for spending and sending money if you have a bank account in China or one of the other local regions listed above.
If you have a Chinese bank account and are able to use WeChat Pay, here’s how to set it up and add money to your wallet:
- Download the WeChat app (if you haven’t already) and set up your account
- Activate WeChat Pay by asking a friend or family member to send you either a red envelope (a hongbao) or a small payment.
- Add your Chinese bank account or credit card details
- Make a bank transfer from your Chinese bank account to add money to your account
- Alternatively, you can top up your account by receiving a transfer from another WeChat user.
To send money to another WeChat Pay user, you can simply set up a transfer in the app. Follow these steps:
- Choose ‘Wallet’ from the list of services
- Select ‘Transfer’ and the person you’d like to send money to
- Enter the transfer amount
- Add a note if you like (i.e. indicating what the payment is for)
- Confirm and enter your password to complete the transaction.
It’s important to note that you can’t make international money transfers with WeChat. And the person you’re sending to will also need to have a wallet supported by WeChat - so one linked to a Chinese, Malaysia, South Africa or Hong Kong bank account.
- WeChat Pay - FAQs
- WeChat - Real Name Verification process
All sources checked on 13 Sep 2022.
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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