Tencent's WeChat has become inescapable and indispensable for its 900 million users in China. Almost every transaction can be paid for by WeChat. In fact, cash money seems to be disappearing fast in China’s large cities.
In a Bloomberg report, blogger Shelly Banjo explains how the Chinese use the app to pay for anything. Even beggars in China reportedly accept handouts via WeChat, using QR codes linked to payment accounts.
The report shows that foreigners without a bank account or phone number from mainland China, are locked out of WeChat's pay function as well as of Alibaba's Alipay, the other big pay app with about 520 million users. To become eligible for use, foreigners need a Chinese bank account, due to know-your-customer and anti-money laundering rules.
Relying on cash makes it increasingly difficult to hail a cab on the street. Using cash to pay for meals or for products at 7-Eleven, “waiters and shopkeepers were either confused or bemused.”
Further reading on bloomberg.com