With WeChat Money Frozen, Exasperated Expats Light Up Groups

By Vanessa Jencks, November 16, 2021

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Starting on Monday November 15, 7pm, expats across China started lighting up WeChat groups and posting on Moments with complaints about WeChat Pay suddenly locking up when trying to pay for an item or send money. That’s collected comments throughout many groups of anecdotal problems that foreigners in China have abruptly experienced with WeChat freezing their money.

Screengrab via WeChat

The notice from WeChat causing angst to many has been shared in many groups and gives little usable explanation for most expats.

Screengrab via WeChat

Many expats are making unexpected bank trips to solve the issue, missing work and spending hours on the phone.

Screengrab via WeChat

Some expats responded with solutions they already used or explaining that they have not experienced this change, either because they already had two bank accounts linked to their WeChat Pay, or they just haven’t been hit by WeChat’s wave of freezing wallets.

Though solutions have been quickly spread, one major problem experienced by some expats is a WeChat wallet with lots of cash, but no way to make transfers, withdraw the money or pay to a merchant.

Problems expressed include bank accounts having mismatched account names. With name order determined by each bank, foreigners sometimes end up with strange name ordering of last name first, middle names used as last names or no spaces in the name at all.

Screengrab via WeChat

Other issues with WeChat Pay have arisen in the past, and expats have already experienced problems with bank misinformation or teller incompetency. 

Screengrab via WeChat

Additionally traveling spouses have often been unable to obtain bank accounts without employment contracts.

Screengrab via WeChat

The official notice with full explanation from WeChat is conveniently tucked away in a Chinese FAQ.

Screengrab via WeChat

Many expats are left wondering why weren't they told before this happened?

Screengrab via WeChat

That’s is currently investigating what to do if your Wallet has been frozen with a lot of cash or if you currently have no access to an old expired passport resulting in an inability to update bank account names and ID numbers.

We will be back with more information soon.

[Cover art by Vanessa Jencks/That’s]

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