WeChat Pay, one of China’s most major mobile payment services, will gradually start accepting payments via Visa credit card soon. It will also begin facilitating the payment usage of other international bank cards on its platform. 

Chinese tech giant Tencent, who owns WeChat, announced the news recently at the 2023 Summer World Economic Forum. The new changes could come as soon as late July or early August amidst grumbles by foreign tourists who have struggled to make payments in China with their bank cards.

The Chinese government’s firm restrictions on finance and data meant foreign bank cards have been strictly regulated for years. However, with the country’s borders reopening post-pandemic and the influx of overseas travellers, visitors have complained incessantly about payment-making.

Mobile payments are the most common payment method in China, with many shops and services adopting it as their only method. Only certain businesses have permission to process foreign credit cards, and international tourists must create a Chinese bank account to use WeChat Pay.

For tourists, setting up a bank account in a foreign country is a hassle – what with the time to open and close the account before they leave. Physical cash would be the next best alternative, but in China’s technology-forward country, cashless methods remain superior.

With WeChat Pay rolling out to support Visa cards soon, tourists heading to China will no longer have to struggle with the payment barrier. Fellow Chinese mobile payment platform Alipay has also announced its partnership with Mastercard, providing a new payment option for travellers to China.

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