Back in 2013, a Chinese company called Tencent released a messaging app called WeChat. Fast-forward to 2021, and the platform now boasts more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide.

Just why is WeChat so popular? For one thing, it’s a lot more than just a messaging tool. WeChat is a combination of a messaging app, social media platform, web browser, and mobile payment system.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to discuss what might actually be the most popular feature of Tencent’s WeChat, which is the payment feature.

New: WeChat and Remitly

With Remitly, you can now send money fast via WeChat. We are proud to be the first remittance company to offer this for our customers worldwide who want to send money to loved ones in China.

If you’re ready to get started, simply download the Remitly app and create your account.

Otherwise, read on for more essential information about WeChat.

Paying with WeChat

In addition to the use of Alipay in China, almost every establishment uses the WeChat app to collect mobile payments. So do taxis, hospitals, trains, and even roadside markets. Over the passing years, the app has become a daily part of life for most Chinese people. 

In areas throughout the world with a large Chinese immigrant population, such as in the U.S., many restaurants and retail stores also accept WeChat mobile payments.

But the app is more than just a mobile payment system. It enables users to send and receive money from friends and family.

How Does Payment on WeChat Work?

In China and other Asian countries, each WeChat account enables the user to set up a digital wallet that is linked to a bank account.

In the U.S., users do not have the option to set up a wallet unless they download the international version of the app. 

When you first set up your wallet, WeChat will attempt to verify the account by charging a small amount of money (typically just a few cents) and then refunding it back to your payment method.

Once the wallet account is set up, users can make mobile and digital payments in several ways. These include:

  • QR Code Payments 

QR codes are the main component of some payment methods used by the app, which is embedded with a QR code reader. This enables digital payments and helps users share their contact information with each other.

For example, if you are in a store that accepts payment from WeChat, you simply scan the seller’s unique QR code, enter the amount of the purchase, and confirm the payment. Then the app transfers the funds from your account to the seller.

Vendors can also create QR codes for different items. App users can scan the code and receive information about the product or conduct a purchase transaction.

  • Quick Pay 

There is also a quicker version of the QR code payment method. Simply scan your unique QR code, and the system will charge the required amount for a purchase. This payment method is often used in grocery and convenience stores.

  • In-App Web-Based Payment 

This payment method allows you to make an online payment to e-tailers using WeChat.

  • In-App Payment 

This payment method can send payments to other third-party apps that have integrated Pay SDK on WeChat. 

Does It Cost Anything to Use the Payment Feature on WeChat?

Contributing to the app’s popularity is the fact that it costs almost nothing to use. All of its core features are free to users.

However, merchants that accept payment from WeChat will pay a commission ranging from 0.10% to 1.00%. The commission ranges according to the merchant’s industry, but most average about 0.60%. 

What Currencies Does WeChat Support?

WeChat supports major currencies including but not limited to GBP, HKD, USD, JPY, CAD, AUD, EUR, NZD, and KRW. 

For unsupported currencies, trade can be made by converting to the U.S. dollar. Partner settlement banks provide the exchange rate of the supported currencies.

For example, when a buyer purchases a product from an overseas vendor, the foreign currency is converted into CNY. The converted CNY amount will then be deducted from the buyer’s account after confirming the transaction in WeChat Pay. 

For unsupported currencies, transactions will be settled with U.S. dollars.

Common Ways to Pay with WeChat 

In China, you can use WeChat for almost everything—shopping, restaurants, subways, taxi cabs, payments to hotels, tickets for a movie or show, etc.

E-tailers and retail establishments can also set up pages on the WeChat shop, which enables users to browse through products and purchase them directly through the app. 

Even food delivery services or movie theaters can connect their business to the WeChat shop to offer consumers a quick and convenient option to make a purchase.

The payment feature on WeChat is now available in mainland China, Hong Kong, the U.S., and South Africa, with plans for expansion to many other regions. If you are ever traveling to China, you may find it extremely helpful to have this app installed. 

Also, be sure to remember the word “Weixin.” This is what WeChat is called in China.

About Remitly

Remitly makes international money transfers faster, easier, more transparent, and more affordable. Our reliable and easy-to-use mobile app is trusted by over 5 million people around the world. 

Visit the homepage or download our app to learn more.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topics discussed herein. This publication is not a substitute for seeking advice from an applicable specialist or professional. The content in this publication does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Remitly or any of its affiliates and should not be relied upon as such. While we strive to keep our posts up to date and accurate, we cannot represent, warrant or otherwise guarantee that the content is accurate, complete or up to date.