The Hangzhou Urban Management Committee recently established over 50 "public credit service kiosks" in densely trafficked areas such as metro stations in order to strengthen the development of consumer credit systems. The kiosks were established in partnership with internet company Alibaba Group's (NYSE: BABA) consumer credit rating service Sesame Credit, beverage company Wahaha, and multiple other local businesses.
According to images circulated online, from the outside the credit service kiosks resemble vending machines. By scanning a QR code using Alibaba's third-party payment app Alipay, city residents can purchase water and first aid kits. Even if users don't have any money in their Alipay account, they can make the purchase using Sesame Credit, which then requires the user to pay back the amount within 7 days. Users with a Sesame Credit score over 600 can also borrow umbrellas without having to pay a deposit, and return the umbrella to any service kiosk.
The service kiosks can also be used to recycle old phones, cameras, and other digital products. After the user scans a code, the system can assess the value of the used item, and, if the user's Sesame Credit score meets a certain threshold, the assessed value will be transferred to her Alipay account up front, and she can later courier the item to the recycling company.
Yu Fei, a spokesperson for the Hangzhou Urban Management Committee's Landscape Management Department, said that this initial deployment of public credit service kiosks is just the pilot version, and that in the future, the city hopes to include even more features.
Alipay and Sesame Credit are operated by Alibaba Group's financial services affiliate Ant Financial.