There is some great news for all foreigners going to or living in China. Foreign credit cards in China are now accepted for mobile payments. Foreign tourists can pay with WeChat Pay (Visa cardholders) and AliPay (Mastercard cardholders) when traveling in China.
Foreign credit cards in China
Mobile payment became the most used payment method in China in the 2010s. By the end of 2022, the number of online payment users in China surpassed 911 million.
For some time, it had been troublesome for foreigners who could not yet link their international credit/debit cards to Chinese apps. In order to pay via Ant’s (AliPay) and Tencent’s (WeChat) mobile payments networks, they had to set up a Chinese bank account. Now things are simpler.
Can you use an international credit card to pay in China via Alipay and WeChat Pay?
There were some plans to introduce foreign credit/debit cards to the Chinese mobile payment network in 2019, but due to the circumstances, it was delayed.
How to link a foreign credit card to a social media account in China?
International cards accepted by Tencent’s WeChat Pay:
- American Express
- Discover Global Network
International cards accepted by Ant’s AliPay:
- Diners Club International
Adding a foreign credit card in WeChat App
The process of adding a foreign credit card in WeChat may vary depending on the downloaded WeChat version.
1. Go to Me in the bottom bar
2. Select Settings
3. Go to General
4. Select Tools
5. Go to Weixin Pay
6. Enable the Weixin Pay feature
7. Go to Wallet in Services
8. Select Cards
9. Tap Add a Card
10. Complete Real-Name Authentication (if required)
11. Agree to the terms
12. Enter your information
13. After authentication, link your card by providing the required information and setting the WeChat payment password. Now you can pay using WeChat Pay!
Adding foreign credit cards in China in short: open the WeChat app, go to Wallet, Cards, and tap Add a Card.
How to pay using WeChat Pay in China?
To scan your payment QR code in a store or restaurant, go to Money and select Payment by WeChat.
Adding a foreign credit card in AliPay
The process of adding a foreign bank card in AliPay is similar to the process of adding a foreign card in WeChat.
Mobile payment in China
If you are going to China to attend a trade fair or meeting at the supplier’s factory, we recommend setting up a WeChat account and linking a credit card. Mobile payment is a much more convenient payment method than traditional cash. Furthermore, in some stores and restaurants, sellers prefer mobile payments, so it is worth being prepared.