WeChat has just launched its 'Wallet' - on a model very close to that already offered by Alipay, the mobile payment app from Alibaba.What does it consist of? A real revolution – when compared to mobile payment methods available in Europe and the US.
Firstly, you find the usual mobile payment functions - credit cards, a wallet topped up by credit card and the option allowing you to make a quick payment using this wallet. This last function, 'Quick Pay' is new: it generates a QR code that can be scanned by the vendor thus allowing you to pay for the purchase.
- 'Transfer' - Transfers money from the 'wallet' to any of your contacts on WeChat.
- 'Mobile Top Up' - Replaces prepaid telephone cards.
- 'Wealth' - Invests your money by clicking on the offers whose returns are displayed and guaranteed.
- 'Buy-QQ Coins' - A virtual currency used in online games.
- 'Utilities' – To pay telephone, gas, water and electricity bills.
- 'Public Services' - To access public services (different in each city) such as: making doctors' appointments / paying fines / display of information about air quality / incidents, displays the traffic situation via road cameras, etc.
- 'Card Repay' - To send money to cover overdrafts on credit cards and avoid bank charges.
- 'Red Packet' – Concretises the Chinese tradition of 'Red Envelopes' when you wish to make gifts to relatives or employees.
- 'Go Dutch' – To share a restaurant bill with friends.
- 'Tencent Charity' - To make donations to philanthropic organizations linked to Tencent.
Illustrated below, is how one makes an appointment with a doctor using the app:
You can also access 5 other functions outside Tencent:
- 'Order Taxi' - To order a taxi - via the joint Tencent and Alibaba app DidiKuaidi.
- 'Rail & Flights' - To order train and plane tickets.
- 'Specials' - This function accesses the e-commerce site JD.com and finds offers at preferential prices.
- 'Movie Tickets' - To buy cinema tickets.
- 'Group Buy' - To make bulk purchases at bargain prices.
If one word could sum up the Chinese mobile payment approach, it is: INTEGRATION. You have within your 'messenger' (think Facebook or WhatsApp Messenger) all payment functions that so far have been available on as many different apps (that of your bank, your electricity supplier, your telephone company, your favourite taxi or VTC service, etc.). So rather than juggling 10 or even 15 different apps, WeChat offers all these facilities in one place, a place where the Chinese spend the most time each day: the private social network. An extraordinary example of work conceived to solve the concerns of the consumer who seeks, above all, 'convenience' and 'user-friendliness'. The future of digital is being prepared in China.