The Chinese service WeChat was not designed for foreigners. And to this day, despite some easing, registering here is still quite a quest. However, if you want to embark on a journey or start shopping in China, you can’t do without a WeChat account and an integrated wallet. Moreover, you can use WeChat Pay for cryptocurrency arbitrage. And overall, another payment method certainly never hurts.

Let’s delve into how the system works, whether a foreigner can set up an account, and how to top up the WeChat Pay balance in 2024.

What is WeChat Pay

WeChat is a popular app with messaging, social networking, payments, and more features. You can communicate, keep up with friends’ and acquaintances’ news, order food, buy plane tickets, and more.

WeChat Pay / Weixin Pay is the payment service that makes all this possible. It’s built into the app and lets you link bank cards to make cashless payments. You can link Visa or Mastercard cards to your account, top it up, and pay for goods and services in China or on Chinese marketplaces.

But all this is only available to those who have signed up for the Chinese app. How do you do it? Let’s find out.

How to Register an Account on WeChat

To become a user of the Chinese app, you’ll need confirmation from another person. It prevents mass registrations by bots and scammers and complicates life for us 🙂. Before creating an account, find someone who can confirm your QR code. The task isn’t as impossible as it seems. You can ask around among acquaintances — according to the six degrees of separation theory, at least one of them is bound to be a WeChat account holder. Or look for a solution in chat groups that buy goods from China.

The person must meet all conditions: be a service user for 1-6 months, have no blocks within the past six months, and not have helped anyone register an account in the past 30 days.

Let’s say you’ve found such a person. From there, it’s relatively straightforward.

  1. Download the WeChat app. Versions are available for iOSAndroidMac OS, and Microsoft.
  2. The quickest way to register is by phone number. In theory, any number will work — we used a Turkish one.
  3. Agree to the license agreement and privacy policy.
  4. Take a screenshot of the screen displaying the QR code and send it to your friend with an account.
  5. After your counterpart confirms, you’ll receive a notification that the verification is complete. Return to the login page and enter the code from the SMS message you’ll receive.
  6. Next, you’ll need to fill in your personal information: date of birth, name, and, optionally, a photo. After that, confirm your consent to the updates in the privacy policy.

At this stage, there are no complex verification procedures or multi-step checks. The main challenge is finding someone who can assist you. Once you have found them, the registration will only take a couple of minutes.

How to Find and Connect WeChat Pay Wallet

Hooray, now we have access to the messenger. The next step is to connect the WeChat Pay / Weixin Pay payment system. Lately, it wasn’t possible to link foreign cards here, but now such a feature has appeared. However, if you downloaded the application outside of China, the wallet may not appear immediately. There are a few options.

Option 1: Enable the wallet in settings

First, update WeChat to the latest version. Then go to Settings / General / Tools / Weixin Pay. On the service page, select Enable.

Option 2: Through a transaction

If the WeChat wallet is not displayed, try activating it through a payment. Choose any chat, tap the “+” button, and select Transfer Funds. In the pop-up window, enter any amount, for example, 1 yuan. When attempting to send funds, the verification procedure will automatically begin.

To begin the verification process, click Verify and accept the user agreement. You’ll need to provide your identification document. It requires entering all ID details, as well as your residential address. The address field is mandatory, but you don’t need to confirm it with anything, so feel free to enter any address.

After uploading your ID, the system will ask you to turn your head to the camera for verification. After that, it will send your data for review. A service chat is automatically created for uploading the photo, so if you accidentally exit the application during the upload, you can always upload the picture through the dialog.

If everything is okay, you’ll see a message confirming the verification in Chinese. It will say, “Verification passed, you can continue adding your card”. Previously, you could link only Chinese cards, but recently, the option to add foreign cards has appeared. We managed to add a Turkish VakıfBank card. You’ll need to enter the card number, expiration date, and the code on the back of the card – then confirm the transaction for 0 CNY.

After verification, you’ll have access to the Weixin Pay chat, where information about the verification will appear. Immediately, there will be two buttons available with information about your account and payment services (consumer protection, bonuses, overseas services, and charity). Everything here is only in Chinese.

Once the verification is complete, you can manage your wallet in the “Services” section. If, for any reason, the section doesn’t open, go to the Weixin Pay chat, click on the right button “Payment Services” (in the previous screenshot), then select steps 1-4 in order on the picture and click the green button.

The bad news is that to top up WeChat Pay directly from a card, you still need a mainland China card. If you have one, you can transfer money directly to your balance. Other cards can only be used for payments within the country – for example, if you’re a tourist. Here are some nuances:

  1. The conversion rate follows your bank’s tariffs.
  2. There’s a 3% fee for transactions over 200 yuan.
  3. Limits: 6,000 yuan per transaction, 50,000 yuan per month, and 60,000 yuan per year.

To start using your linked card for payments, change the method in the “Money” section and select your card instead of the balance. After that, funds will be deducted directly from your account.

How to Top Up WeChat Pay

Since it’s not possible to directly top up your balance with foreign cards, P2P exchanges come to the rescue. You transfer money to an exchange or a specific person, and they send you yuan via messenger. You can find such exchange offers using Monetory. Of course, you can choose an option, for example, USD / CNY, avoiding dealing with crypto. But, the exchange rate won’t be the most advantageous:

As you can see, in this case, we’ll only get 6.7 CNY for one dollar. And most likely even less because there are significant fees on the presented wallets (Payoneer, Payeer, AdvCash, etc.).

Now, let’s see what happens if we add an intermediate step to the exchange, USDT:

  1. Go to Monetory search.
  2. Choose to give USD and get USDT.
  3. Buy USDT at the best offer. You will often encounter a 1 to 1 exchange or even slightly better. It all depends on the chosen method. It also applies to direct deposits to the exchange.

Now, exchange USDT for CNY with a receipt on WeChat. Go to Monetory search and select the Payment method mode. In the Give field, choose USDT, and in Get – WeChat CNY. Exchange at the best offer, namely 1 USDT = 7.4 CNY.

If we operate through cryptocurrency, we get 7.4 CNY for every dollar, whereas directly, we have only a maximum of 6.7 yuan. A 10% difference is a compelling argument to spend a little more time!

An important point to note: in September 2021, China imposed a complete ban on cryptocurrency operations. But people actively continue to use them. To top up an account, either transfer within the application or “red envelopes” are used – virtual gift cards with a specified amount of money.

Where to Perform Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Buying USDT is not a problem. You have direct deposits to exchanges at your disposal, and plenty of offers from the P2P market. But, converting USDT into yuan on WeChat is more challenging. You can find such offers on:

  1. Binance
  2. OKX
  3. HTX
  5. Several independent exchangers

The highest liquidity is on HTX, and other services noticeably lag. However, there are enough offers available, so topping up your WeChat balance via P2P should not be a problem. Check out the offers available right now on!

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