This blog post is written by James Brown, owner of the Tips for China website, where you can find many more useful guides for people living or travelling in China.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about whether or not it's possible to add a foreign credit card to your WeChat Wallet. Some sources say that you need to download WeChat outside of China. Others say that you need to register your WeChat account with a non-Chinese phone number. Some even say that you can't link Chinese bank cards and foreign credit cards on the same account.
I'm going to clear up some of these misconceptions and show you exactly how to link your foreign credit cards to your WeChat account.
Before I show you how to link a foreign credit card to WeChat Pay, I should mention that there are some restrictions on what you can do with it.
The main restriction is that you cannot use your foreign credit card to send Red Packets or transfer funds to your contacts. It can only be used for purchases. Furthermore, it can only be used for online purchases such as Meituan (food delivery, group buy, etc), DiDi (taxi), Mobike (bike share) etc. You also cannot use your foreign credit card to make payments in stores by scanning your payment QR code.
Yes, you can. As you can see below, I have 2 Chinese bank cards, 1 USA credit card, and 1 Chinese credit card linked to my WeChat account.
Here are the specific steps to follow to add your foreign credit card to your WeChat wallet.
Open WeChat and then select the Me icon on the bottom right. Then choose WeChat Pay > Wallet > Cards.
If you have already linked any cards (Chinese or foreign) then you will see them on the list (as in the image I showed above). If you have not added any cards yet then your list will be empty.
Click on the text "+ Add Bank Card" shown at the bottom of your cards list. Don't worry that you are adding a credit card instead of a bank card, it's done in the same way.
This step is very simple, but many people get confused with the name syntax issue. If you have already linked a Chinese card then you will not be able to change the name field.
The name shown in the above image will be registered in the same way it is registered at the Chinese bank that issued your card that is already linked. Most banks in China register foreigners names as:
LAST FIRST MIDDLE
or sometimes as:
LASTFIRSTMIDDLE (without spaces).
But this is probably not the same way that your name is written on your foreign credit card. Foreign credit cards usually write your name as:
FIRST M LAST
As it's not possible to edit the name, most people don't know what to do next.
The answer is simple. Just ignore it. Leave your name as-is and just enter your credit card number. You will be able to enter the name on your credit card in the next step.
Now just enter your details, accept the user agreement, and then save.
Make sure you enter the name and address shown on your foreign credit billing statement, not your China address and phone number.
Congratulations. You have now added your foreign credit card to your WeChat account. Now you can make payments with your foreign credit card for some expenses in China. The best part is that there is no Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) scam with WeChat Pay. You will get billed in CNY for all transactions and your bank or credit card company will make the conversion to your billing currency.