Why to Accept WeChat Pay

May 14, 2024
5 minutes Read
If you accept WeChat Pay you open yourself up to a billion potential customers. Keep reading to find out how to accept WeChat payments.
Why to Accept WeChat Pay

Why and How to Accept WeChat Pay?

A not-to-secret tip to doing well in business is to make it easy for customers to pay you. In the past, retailers installed more registers to reduce wait times. More recently, they started accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet so customers wouldn’t have to dig through their pockets or purses. The next iteration is being able to accept a World of Payments so travellers, new immigrants and online shoppers from anywhere on Earth can give you money.

Among the world leaders in payment methods is WeChat Pay. And though most of its users are Chinese nationals, it’s very present in Canada and the US.

Keep reading to find out what WeChat payment is, who uses it and why you should accept it as a payment option regardless of what you sell.

WeChat is a super app and the the world’s largest social media and messaging platform. It has well over 1.2 billion active users (mostly in China) because it combines all the common apps your phone has now: voice, text, social networking, videos, searching and booking services, ordering food, translation into 20 languages and payments. And its mini program ecosystem makes it easy to take almost any digital action without leaving the app. One article referred to WeChat as “the app that China-bound travellers should download if they want to install only one app.”

The payment side of WeChat is WeChat Pay, which requires a Chinese bank account to use. It’s the second-most popular payments platform in China, with 935 million active users in 2023. This is slightly behind AliPay.

All this to say that the 935 million people (3X the entire American population) who use WeChat Pay to buy everything from candies to cars will want to keep using it when they buy from you.

Over 50% of WeChat’s users are under 30 years old, and a sizeable majority of this group is under 24. The male/female split is relatively even with slightly higher male adoption. None of this is too surprising given that the app world skews younger.

But here’s what is surprising: while China is obviously the country with the most WeChat downloads, number two is the United States with 1.22 million downloads in the second half of 2023, and Canada, despite its small population, has over 1 million active users. Some of those users are new immigrants or students. Some are Americans or Canadians who do business in China or Chinese nationals who do business in America or Canada. But all of them could be your customers if you accepted WeChat Pay.

WeChat Pay works on a system of QR codes. You, as the merchant, generate a QR code for every product you sell. Customers scan those QR codes to get product and price information, and to pay (or you can scan a customer’s personal QR code to accept money from them). Upon payment, WeChat Pay’s network sends an authorization request to the customer’s financial institution and routes the money upon approval. The whole process takes seconds.

Customers generally don’t pay WeChat Pay user fees. Businesses pay a percentage of the transaction amount, but the rates are competitive to encourage more widespread WeChat Pay acceptance. But for those fees, merchants who accept WeChat Pay get access to unique insights into customer behaviour and transaction patterns they can leverage in multiple directions, from operations to marketing to pricing strategies.

Any retailer who expects Chinese nationals or recent immigrants from China to walk into their store or land on their websites should strongly consider accepting WeChat Payments.

Online, this could literally be any eCommerce site, since there’s about a 10 to 20% chance that your next visitor will be a WeChat Pay user.

In the real world, this would include any retailer or merchant in or near an American or Canadian city of over 500,000 people (roughly the size of Kansas City). In smaller cities, towns, counties and villages, companies that serve tourists or business travellers should also consider accepting WeChat Pay. This would include restaurants, attractions, hotels and the like. But it would also include shops a traveller might go: drug stores, supermarkets, florists, grooming services like barbers and nail salons, etc.

When you’re set up to accept WeChat Payments, almost a billion potential customers (and probably a few current customers) will be able to use their preferred payment method when they shop with you and not have to deal with wire transfers, five-day holds or unfavourable exchange rates. This enhances the shopping experience and, for some people, could be the difference between choosing you or a competitor.

Also, accepting WeChat and proudly displaying that fact in your shop window or website footer is like a beacon for 1.3 billion people to come check you out. Without saying anything, you communicate warmth, inclusivity and an immediate understanding of what they’re looking for in a shopping experience.

If you a find a quality partner to help you accept WeChat Pay, you’ll be able to accept payments in local currency with automatic currency conversion, regardless of your customers’ original home currency. You’ll be able to generate more QR codes and take advantage of more opportunities. And you’ll have help attracting more customers with more ways for them to pay you.

Looking for a payment processor company in North America that accepts WeChat Pay? Reach out to us.