The new service is called “Travelex Pay” and will exist within the WeChat app, which has 800 million users. Until now, the ability of WeChat users to connect directly with U.S. sellers has been limited.
Travelex Pay will be powered by Swych, a mobile gifting platform that lets users send gift cards to others from a selection of 700 choices, including retailers in luxury brand names, dining, and electronics.
“Swych and Travelex Pay are making cross-border shopping more seamless for Chinese WeChat customers who visit the U.S. and use Travelex Pay. We are excited about this partnership and to provide Chinese consumers a cutting-edge, digital payments experience,” said James Hewitt, Travelex CEO for North America, in a statement.
Travelex Pay, for the moment, is targeting the 3 million Chinese who visit the U.S. each year. They can buy a gift card on WeChat using their WeChat Pay account — even while standing in a checkout line — and then use it to shop without ever exchanging money.
“Chinese tourism in the U.S. is increasing — both in number of people and the amount of money spent,” said Swych CEO and founder Deepak Jain, in a statement. “With more than 90 percent of Chinese tourists expressing interest in using mobile payments overseas if given the choice, Swych [and] Travelex, with WeChat Pay, have combined service offerings to fill the demand for a frictionless and zero-fee payment option.”