Until recently, it was difficult to get a credit card with any bank other than your own. As housing prices spiked, this became increasingly untenable.“Now you need two suitcases to buy a house, not just one,” says Zennon Kapron, who heads the financial tech consultancy Kapronasia.But Alipay knows all of these things about its users and more.Owned by Ant Financial, an affiliate of the massive Alibaba corporation, Alipay is sometimes called a super app.
Before FICO, credit bureaus relied in part on gossip culled from people’s landlords, neighbors, and local grocers.
When Liu went on vacation with his fiancée (now his wife) to Thailand, they paid at restaurants and bought trinkets with Alipay.
He stored whatever money was left over, which wasn’t much once the vacation and car were paid for, in an Alipay money market account.
One day a new icon appeared on Liu’s Alipay home screen. The name, like that of Alipay’s parent company, evoked the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, in which the words magically unseal a cave full of treasure.
When Liu touched the icon, he was greeted by an image of the Earth.