Following Alibaba’s Alipay, Tencent’s messaging and payment app WeChat has officially rolled out a personal credit rating system to determine the trustworthiness of users via their payment behavior and credit history on the platform, according to a report from media outlet Jiemian.
Named “WeChat Pay Score,” the new AI-assisted system is accessible through the WeChat Pay tab but is only available to users who have completed real-name verification. Before activating the feature, users will also be given a notice about how many of their contacts are already using the service.
Depending on users’ WeChat Pay Score, they can have access to a maximum of 1038 personal-credit related services. With a high enough credit score, users can rent items such as home water purifiers, power banks, and tablets deposit free from designated service providers. Several ride-hailing and hotel service platforms have also been connected to the credit system.
Credit scores on the system vary widely, ranging from as low as 300 to as high as 850. According to Chinese media reports, Tencent’s chairman and CEO, Pony Ma, had a WeChat Pay Score of 835, though WeChat soon revealed that there are scores as high as 848.
WeChat has started testing its credit score system since as early as 2018, though the tests were generally on a small scale. In August 2019, Geng Zhijun, the vice president of Weixin Group, said the credit rating system has helped users save tens of billions in deposits in three months. The messaging app also said it has plans to expand use scenarios for WeChat Pay Score.
Tencent’s credit rating system is similar to Alipay’s Zhima Credit, or Sesame Credit, which calculates users’ credit scores based on a variety of factors such as purchases on Alibaba’s e-commerce apps and spending using Alipay’s mobile wallet. Introduced to Alipay in 2017, Zhima Credit is recognized by a wide array of service providers, even allowing users to use it to rent houses without deposits or take out loans.