Through recent developments WeChat is not anymore only a place to post pictures and chat with your friends, they have built a complete online banking ecosystem.
Pay your friends through electronic wallet, pay services to 3 tiers providers (shopping, ticketing, banking…), bill payment… having a WeChat wallet is really a must have for any foreigner living in China (order food online, pay for train, plane tickets, order taxi, private car, pay in small shops….)
Update 28 July 2017
Up 1: Activating wallet: If you install/register WeChat from abroad, you won't have access to the WeChat wallet option. DO NOT download WeChat again after arriving in China in order to activate it (you will lose all your contacts and chat history, plus you may trigger the WeChat fraud service). Just ask a friend or colleague to send you a red packet, or a small amount of money. Upon reception of that money, WeChat will pop-up an ID verification page, choose the first link in green (verification with bank ID). Then follow the instructions to activate your wallet.
Up2: Wallet with no bank card: The same Union Pay bank card can be used to verify up to 3 different WeChat accounts (convenient for families)
Up3: Changing phone number: For people who registered their WeChat with another phone number, do not forget to change your phone number when you get your new Chinese phone number. If you lose your phone you may be able to recover your account by SMS.
Up4: Safety tips: For safety reasons, it can be interesting to activate Transfer Delay (people will receive money after a safety delay). Go to Me -> Wallet -> ... -> Payment Management -> Transfer Time
Up5: Joining WeChat groups: Groups of more than 100 members can only be joined by verified (bank card linked) WeChat ID owners or WeChat account registered in foreign countries.
Up6: Linking a card: For linking your bank card WeChat will need (your bank card number, passport number, your name exactly spelled like the one linked to your bank card –same order, case, space and symbols sensitive) and will (since March) send a verification sms to the phone number linked to your bank account/card.
Up7: Adding other cards: After linking the first bank card, your name and passport number need to be exactly the same for linking any new bank card in the future (phone number can vary) Please notice that it is hard to get two Chinese banks writing your name the same way. So, linking more than one bank card for foreigners may be pretty hard.
Up8: Changing your banking name/passport number: if you used a friend bank card, or want to add a new bank card with a new name/passport number. You will have to delete the old ones. Procedure has been simplified. Just delete all your cards: Me-> Wallet -> Click on the bank card -> … (up right of your screen) -> 删除绑定 -> confirm. Then add a new bank card, when WeChat display your previous name, just click on the “!” near your name to alter your banking information. Operation can only be done once every 15 days.
Up9: Annual limit for receiving payment is limited to 200 000元
Update 30 June 2015 : we are receiving more and more reports from users getting trouble with ABC and BOC card, especially when they want to create an Alipay account. Tianjinexpats.com strongly advise you to choose ICBC in Tianjin for your bank card.
Update 16 July 2015: Entering groups of more than 100 users, if you don't have a bank card register on your WeChat you won't be able to join groups of more than 100 people. Like the tianjinexpats cafe
Why register a bank card in WeChat?
They are a lot of reasons for you to do it:
-Send/Receive money from/to anybody with a Wechat account; useful to split restaurant bills, give some money, paying some services.
-Paying your phone bill online, no need to look for an open supermarket in the middle of the cold and rainy night. Just pay your phone bill from home; and it’s even cheaper.
-Ordering Taxi online, order a Taxi with didi in English and pay it with your wechat wallet.
-Pay for tiers services: i.e. food delivery services, meituan, elemai, baiduwaimai, pay for you train tickets, buy flight tickets or movie theater tickets
-Play the hongbao game, if you are into that game then you have been in China long enough to skip that "How To….." reading ;-)
Which bank card for Wechat?
UPDATED 30 June 2015 : we have more and more report of user getting problem with ABC and BOC card, especially when they want to make an Alipay account. We strongly advise for an ICBC bank card
You need a Union Pay bank card registered with your phone number(you will receive a security code on that number). Please note that foreign Visa bank card from abroad can be registered too. But fees will be high and some services won't be activated.
- ICBC : our recommandation
- Bank of China
- China Construction Bank
- Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)
- Bank of Communications
- China Merchants Bank
- Industrial Bank (Xingye)
- Huaxia Bank
- Chine Everbright bank Bank
- Foreign MasterCard, Visa and JCB cards: But no withdrawal available and high bank fees are expected.
- All other banks are not possible, requires Chinese ID
-If you don’t have any of these bank cards you will need to get one in an ICBC, ABC or CMB…. tianjinexpats.com recommand ICBC in Tianjin, the network is big, and it is free to get the card.
-If you do not trust Tecent handling your banking information, you can always make a special card for WeChat only use, and just put a small amount of money on it
-If you are using a Chinese ID for registering your bank card, any bank will work.
Photo of two workings bank cards
Registering Step by Step
UPDATE 28/07/2017: The phone number your register with the bank is mandatory now, and you will receive a SMS at that number
In WeChat go to Me -> Wallet ->Add a Card -> input your bank card number,
your name exactly like at the bank.
in ID field: choose passport.
input your passport number.
then your linked to bank account phone number.
Finish by entering security code received on your mobile
Be careful there is only one good way to enter your name but you can keep trying forever...
IE: If you are Mr John Doe, the bank employee could have written DOEJOHNMR or MRJOHNDOE or MR JOHN DOE or JOHNDOE or DOE,JOHN or JOHN DOE or even made a mistake in the spelling. So please check on your bank paper the exact way they spelled your name in that bank.
Then WeChat will ask you for a password, it is not your bank card pin code, but a password for WeChat payments use only.
Congratulations you bank card is registered and now you can enjoy your WeChat wallet. You could start to test if all is working well by making a generous donation (or not) to the tianjinexpats account on WeChat… ;-)
How to use it?
In the chat window, you can send money to your friends, by clicking “+” then Transfer
UPDATE 20/07/2017: We recommend you to use the English Didi Application
PAYING PHONE FEES
Go to Me -> Wallet -> Mobile Top Up
Write the phone number you want to charge, charge it
It seems that is not working with fixed phone fees and internet fees, if somebody has been successful please let us know.