WeChat Pay, the digital payment arm of China’s Tencent, announced news on Thursday (Jan. 25) that it will open up its payments platform to international credit cards.
According to a report in TechNode, citing WeChat Pay, expats in China and those living in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can now input their credit card information and activate it on WeChat Pay. The service works with Mastercard, Visa and JCB. TechNode noted that this move marks the first time users can use WeChat Pay without having a Chinese bank account or Chinese-based credit card. The mobile payment service is rolling out the new option in markets where it’s currently trying to expand.
News that international credit cards can be integrated with the WeChat Pay mobile app comes at a time when the company is growing, aiming to overtake rival Alibaba’s Alipay. Chinese consumers are active and eager users of mobile payments, so WeChat Pay and Alipay have both been in a battle for digital payment dominance in the country.
Earlier this week, WeChat Pay made news by expanding into the Italian market, enabling payment for purchases via its platform. According to a Monday (Jan. 22) report in Telecompaper, WeChat inked a deal with Digital Retex, a company which helps retailers integrate with WeChat’s services, and Docomo Digital, the European unit of digital payment company NTT Docomo, to enable Chinese tourists to make transactions in Italy. Chinese travelers will be able to use the offering in physical stores and online via the firm’s smartphone app.
The report noted that WeChat Pay is hoping to make inroads with all retailers but has a particular focus on those companies that specialize in high-end or designer products, as they represent approximately 60 percent of all Chinese purchases. Italian merchants can either implement a dedicated point-of-sale terminal or add WeChat Pay to their existing systems. To get a scope of WeChat Pay’s utilization: More than 600 million Chinese consumers use the platform.