If you didn’t already know, paying by WeChat in China has quickly overtaken cash as the most common method of payment. If you’re traveling to China, it’s entirely possible to get around using cash…but it’s not always the easiest option. What if there were an easier way to add money to WeChat so you could pay with your phone in China? There is, and you’ve probably never heard of it before.
Using mobile payments as a foreigner in China used to be extremely difficult. Thankfully, that has changed over the past couple years and I now use WeChat for pretty much every payment I make while living here. The only remaining challenge is figuring out how to add money to WeChat.
There are a few different ways that you can add money to WeChat on your phone:
- Link a Chinese Bank Account: Originally, I had to open a bank account in China in order to link my China bank card to my WeChat wallet. It wasn’t a simple process but it makes paying with WeChat easy from that point forward.
- Link a Foreign Credit Card: In late 2017, news broke that it was possible to add a foreign credit card to your WeChat wallet. Great news! The only problem was that you needed to download WeChat in China in order for that to work, meaning you couldn’t set it up before you go. A short while ago, I tried to add a foreign credit card here in China and it didn’t work so well.
- WeChat Balance Transfers: That leaves us with one final option – accepting balance transfers. As a foreign traveler, you can have a friend transfer you money and then use that balance to pay for things.
But how can transfer money if you don’t know anybody in China?
Conclusion | Simple Currency Exchanges for Travelers
Obviously, this isn’t a long-term solution for somebody who is living in China. However, I’ve discovered that it works very well in a couple different situations:
- You’re a traveler who wants to have money available to use while you’re traveling around China.
- You’re an expat who wants to buy something online but doesn’t have a Chinese bank account yet.
- For whatever reason, you need to convert Chinese yuan to US dollars or vice-a-versa.
In each case, this simple process allows you to make the currency conversion using peer-to-peer technology, making it practically free. Give Swapsy a try for yourself and add money to WeChat!