In China, tech firms are issuing virtual credit cards to make online shopping easier

In China, tech firms are issuing virtual credit cards to make online shopping easier

In China, tech firms are making it easier for consumers than ever before to shop and purchase goods online.

Rather than requiring you to have a traditional credit card applied via banks, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced that its payments arm Alipay will collaborate with China’s CITIC Bank to start issuing one million virtual credit cards next week, approving the creditworthiness of applicants based on their online shopping histories.

This means that CITIC Bank will impose credit limits based on information from Alipay on the applicant’s online shopping behavior. The minimum credit limit is CNY200 ($33).

Consumers can use the virtual credit card only on e-commerce platforms that accept CITIC credit cards, Alipay says. It can, however, also be used at offline retail outlets that accept Alipay’s Wallet app as a payment method.

In the meantime, Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which owns popular messaging service WeChat, is teaming up with CITIC Bank and Zhong An Online Property Insurance to issue one million virtual credit cards too.

In a statement sent to TNW, Tencent says that users of WeChat (known as Weixin in China) can apply for the card with a minimum credit limit of CNY50 ($8) and a maximum of CNY5,000 ($814). Consumers can use the card when paying via Weixin, or at designated offline retail outlets that support the scanning of Weixin QR codes.


A Tencent spokesperson says: “Introducing this virtual credit card is mainly to help users who have good credit records but are lacking short-term funds to quickly meet their consumption needs. For the businesses, this can maximize sales.”

Both Alibaba and Tencent say that the approval process for their virtual credit cards will take less time than conventional credit applications.

Last month, online retailer — which Tencent recently announced it was taking a 15 percent stake in — also launched a virtual credit card. However, that wasn’t in collaboration with any banks and was for use only on its e-commerce platform.

Alibaba and Tencent’s foray into providing credit for customers comes as both Internet firms have been selected to take part in the preparation work for setting up five new private banks in China. It seems like Alibaba and Tencent are well on their way to forming complete ecosystems in the Internet world which extend not only to purchasing products but to payment, credit and financial products as well.

Headline image via Shutterstock

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