WeChat is omnipresent in China. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, the Tencent app lets people chat, pay bills, play games, shop, and access government services -- without ever leaving WeChat.
WeChat Pay now supports international credit cards for foreign visitors, Tencent announced yesterday. Supported cards include Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and JCB.
This will be the first time foreign visitors will be able to use international credit cards to pay with WeChat Pay in China. However, it’s limited to certain online services for now. Tencent said international cards can be used to pay for dozens of online services, including ride-hailing service Didi, ecommerce app JD.com, travel booking app Ctrip and 12306, the official train ticket booking site run by China Railway.
WeChat Pay’s announcement comes after rival Alipay launched a mini-program that also lets people use international credit cards to top-up a prepaid card. Previously, people needed a Chinese bank account to use Alipay in China. China’s central bank is also pushing to let underserved populations join the cashless trend, including foreigners and rural residents without bank accounts.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba, whose affiliate Ant Financial operates Alipay.)