WeChat Pay allows money transfer via phone numbers

It’s finally catching up to Alipay.

Photo: Stock.tuchong.com

Tencent’s WeChat Pay now allows iPhone users to make money transfers based on phone numbers, disregarding the previous requirement of users adding each other as “friends” on WeChat, 36Kr reported on Wednesday. (Android users, however, will have to wait.)

The move represents the convergence of services between WeChat Pay and rival Alipay. Since June 2012, Alipay has allowed its users to directly transfer cash in its app using just phone numbers.

WeChat Pay is catching up to Alipay in other respects too. Earlier this month, WeChat Pay launched a credit evaluation service called WeChat Pay Fen. Like Zhima Credit on Alipay, WeChat Pay Fen provides favorable credit-based services such as battery bank rentals with waived deposits to those who have allowed it to collect personal data like payments history.

WeChat Pay is developing a payment product called Fenfu that functions like a credit card, much like Alipay’s Huabei. It is expected to be rolled out this quarter, according to local Chinese media outlet Xinliu Caijing.

WeChat Pay had more than 80 million active users at the end of June 2018, according to its official website. Ant Financial’s chairman and CEO Eric Jing said last month that Alipay and its international e-wallet partners have collectively served 1.2 billion users worldwide by the end of June 2019.