With more than 1 billion active users, there is no disputing the popularity of WeChat. The fact that it’s so widely used makes it pretty much a must-have for expats and anyone working as a teacher in China and it can do everything from pay for your metro ticket to book your next EasyTaxi with minimal setup.
One of the caveats to enjoying the full WeChat experience is to link it to your bank card (bonus – you can now link foreign credit cards!) so you can use with the WeChat wallet.
Let’s unpack the process – feel free to skip ahead if you already have WeChat downloaded!
How can you download WeChat?
Download the app on your phone from the app store (choose Android or iPhone here)
Once it’s installed, open the app. You should see a “sign up” button
To create a WeChat account, you’ll need to enter your phone number and correct area code.
Once you’ve entered your information, you should receive a text from WeChat with a verification code. Type this number into the box labeled “Code”.
Finish filling out any other information asked, and you’re good to go. You now have a WeChat account ready to be used.
How do you create a WeChat Pay account?
WeChat Pay works alongside WeChat wallet to allow you to use your phone to pay at stores, restaurants – it’s currently accepted in more than a dozen countries!
In order to setup your WeChat Pay account you need:
- WeChat account
- A Chinese bank card
- A phone that is linked to your bank card
If you meet all of these requirements, let’s move on to the next level:
Find the WeChat Wallet card
To find the WeChat Wallet card follow these steps:
Go to your WeChat and click on Me/Wallet/Cards. This will take you to a section to add a Chinese bank card. If you don’t see Wallet in your WeChat, it is because you have downloaded the international version of WeChat. Here is a trick to see the WeChat Wallet on the international version of WeChat. You can click on Setting/General/Language to change the WeChat language to Chinese. This will activate your WeChat Wallet. You can then change your language back to English and WeChat Wallet will remain.
Add a bank card
It is time to add a credit or debit card to link with your WeChat Wallet. You will need Chinese bank account for this.
You have successfully created WeChat Pay account!
EXTRA TIP: If you change the language to Chinese and nothing happens, you should try one more thing. The easiest way open WeChat Pay is to ask someone with a WeChat Wallet to send you a ‘Red Packet’. Red Packets are a way to send money as a gift to someone else, so it’s peer-to-peer payment. When you accept the Red Packet the app will automatically create the WeChat Wallet, and you will see it appear under the Me tab.
Once your card or bank is linked you’re able to use it in stores, cabs, restaurants, etc!
How to change the bank that is linked to WeChat Pay?
It’s easy to change your linked card on WeChat Pay.
You can go to Wallet/Card to delete the previous card:
On the add a card page, click on the green information sign to change your name – make sure to check you don’t have any remaining balance before changing or it will disappear.
Make sure your WeChat Pay account is not linked to a third party company for automatic payment (such as Uber, Didi).
If you see an error message and you are not sure what it means, it could possibly mean that WeChat has trouble with English translation. In this case, you should switch the language back to Chinese and see what it says.
Then, you can proceed to the adding a bank card section:
How to Use WeChat at a Business
Now that you have your WeChat account set up and connected to your bank account, how do you actually use it? For example, if you were to go a grocery store and wanted to pay for your dinner ingredients with WeChat instead of with the cash in your wallet, what would you do? Luckily, you only need to follow 3 easy steps to be able to make your payment.
First, you are going to want to open the WeChat app and tap the “Me” icon – you can find this at the bottom right corner of the screen. This will bring up a screen on which you will select the “Wallet” option.
Once you open the wallet, you will notice a lot of options. However, for this purpose, you will only need to choose “Quick Pay” which is located at the top left of the screen.
This will prompt a screen that will show three pieces of information: a barcode, a QR code, and a serial number. By handing your phone to the cashier, they will be able to scan the barcode, completing the transaction.
Once you complete the transaction, your WeChat wallet will automatically update to show the correct, new balance.
Thanks to David at Internships China for putting together this post!