Before you do anything, you’re going to need to set up a Chinese bank account. You’ll most likely require one to receive a salary anyway and once that’s done you’re going to want to spend your money, one of the best ways is using WeChat Pay.

Setting up a bank account has become more difficult for foreigners in recent years, but it’s a doddle for those who have been employed in a proper and legal manner. China Merchant’s Bank is known to be the most foreigner-friendly. They usually require your passport, proof of employment (a signed and stamped letter from your employer outlining your role), and proof of residency (a residence form from your local police station).

If for whatever reason you don’t have an employment letter, try ICBC, which has been known to be open accounts for foreigners with just a passport and a proof of address.

Setting up WeChat Pay

Living in China without WeChat Pay or Alipay is like living without cash or credit card. A survey shows only 10% of users prefer to pay via credit card or cash over WeChat Pay or Alipay. How can foreigners open WeChat Pay account?


  • WeChat account
  • Passport
  • A Chinese bank card
  • A phone that linked with your bank card

Step 1: Find the WeChat Wallet card 

Go to your WeChat and click on Me/Wallet/Cards. This will take you to a section to add a Chinese bank card.

Note if you don’t see Wallet in your WeChat, it is because you download the international version of WeChat. Here is a trick to see the WeChat Wallet on the international version of WeChat.

You can click on Setting/General/Language to change the WeChat language to Chinese.

This will activate your WeChat Wallet. You can then change your language back to English and WeChat Wallet in stays.

Step 2: Add a bank card

Click ‘Cards’ and you’ll be presented with the option to ‘Add a Card’.

Now you can add a credit or debit card to link with your WeChat Wallet.

You will need a Chinese bank card, enter your details carefully/

*Important: make sure you use the exact name you use that matches with the name linked with your bank card. The name field is also case sensitive.

Step 3: Add your Passport information

Change the ID Type from ID Card to Passport

NOTE:  Not all banks support using a passport as a form of ID. If you find you can’t change the ID type to Passport, you may have to change a bank account. Here a recent list of banks that support using a passport as an ID: 

ICBC 中国工商银行
Bank of China 中国银行

China Construction Bank 中国建设银行
Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) 中国农业银行
Bank of Communications 中国交通银行
China Merchants Bank 中国招商银行
Industrial Bank (Xingye) 中国兴业银行
Huaxia Bank 华夏银行

China Everbright Bank (Guangda) 中国光大银行

Step 4: Enter the Confirmation Code

At this point, you should receive a text message to your phone that has a confirmation code that you will need to input.  

Once that is completed, you will need to create a WeChat payment password. You will need to remember this as you will need to enter this everytime you would like to make a transaction via WeChat Pay.

Step 5: Done!  

Now you have successfully linked your bank card with WeChat!

With all this now set up, you’re going to want to take advantage of the fantastic shopping available in China. 

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