Tencent’s WeChat Pay, one of China’s major mobile payment services, announced today that international credit cards are now allowed on the mobile payment platform. Expats living in China and residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan—places where WeChat is ambitiously expanding its user base—can now bind and activate WeChat Pay accounts with credit card services provided by MasterCard, Visa, and JCB.
It’s worth noting that this is the first time users are able to use WeChat Pay without having a Chinese bank account or credit card, according to a company statement from Tencent.
As China is going cashless, WeChat Pay and Alipay—a mobile payment service under Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Financial—have become ubiquitous and embedded in all kinds of daily consumption settings, such as online shopping, ride-hailing, ticket purchasing, bike renting, food delivery, and hotel booking.
Released in August 2013, WeChat Pay has expanded to 25 countries around the world, serving the large amount of Chinese tourists traveling abroad. “WeChat is initially a social app,” Grace Yin, Director of WeChat Pay Cross-border Operation at Tencent, told TechNode last week in Guangzhou. “If [local users] don’t have experience using WeChat, then we cannot ask them to establish WeChat payment,” she said.
In fact, WeChat Pay is popular among the expats living in China. According to a data report released by Tencent last year, over 64% of foreign expats in China used WeChat Pay for their daily needs. It’s fair to say that most people (including the TechNode team) don’t need to leave their house with their wallet any longer.