How to set up WeChat Wallet / WeChat Pay in China for foreigners? (March 2019 updated)

WeChat Pay mainland China bank card identity information

Previously, the easiest verified way to set up WeChat Wallet in order to use WeChat Pay in China for foreigners is to request for friends or third-party in China to send money or red packets to you through WeChat.

The steps (previously) are:

  1. Request for friends in China or third-party such as Katocard to send money or red packets to you through WeChat.
  2. Accept the transfer.
  3. WeChat will prompt you to verify your identity information.
  4. Key in your bank card (foreign credit card is acceptable too) and you are all done.
  5. You can now use your WeChat pay to transfer money, to issue red packet, to receive a transfer and also to pay merchants in China.
  6. However, you still can’t top up your WeChat Wallet with your credit card. You will still need to request your friends or third-party to transfer to you.

This method partially ended with the February/ March 2019 app update.

You can no longer be able to transfer money, issue red packet or receive a transfer. You will see the prompt “According to local regulations, you must add a mainland China bank card to complete your identity information in order to continue using WeChat Pay” when you attempt to do so. However, you will still be able to pay merchants in China through QR code or in-app. There’s no worry that your existing balance will go to waste at least for now.

To top up your WeChat Wallet, as you can no longer receive a transfer, you will not be able to rely on your friends in China anymore. Third party re-seller such as Katocard may have solutions to help you with topping up.