Mobile Payments Firm Alipay Adds New Money Market Options

May 8, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

We often think of mobile payments platforms as a way to pay people, and businesses, for goods and services. We seldom, however, consider the notion that mobile payments platforms could pay us too. That’s about to be much more an option for Alipay users, who once again find themselves on the platform of big bucks with two new money market options.

Alipay’s connection to Yu’e Bao, a “spare cash management platform,” allowed for two new money market options to be added to the Alipay app. The new funds are managed by Bosera Asset Management and Zhong Ou Asset Management, and join the one such fund previously found on Alipay managed by Tianhong Asset Management.

The new funds won’t immediately be available to everyone; as part of a bid to ensure that the new launches go well, only some Yu’e Bao users will have access to the funds at first. Those who don’t have it right away will be able to get in later, though, as part of subsequent batch rollouts.

Ant Financial’s wealth management business group vice president Guomin Zu noted “The addition of these new money market funds to Yu’e Bao is in line with Ant Financial’s commitment to using technology to make financial services more inclusive, and to working closely with traditional financial institutions. Partnering with Bosera Asset and Zhong Ou Asset will enable Yu’e Bao users to access more funds with the same seamless experience that they have enjoyed since 2013….”

It’s a novel idea to use a mobile payments platform as a way to manage your spare cash, but with China increasingly turning to downright Orwellian measures like the “social credit” system, it’s easy to think this could be wildly misused. How long until not having a certain percentage of cash measured against your annual earnings is a black mark on your record that won’t let you travel, or worse, gets you fired? As an option, though, it’s a good move. Money market accounts tend to offer better returns than your standard savings account, if they’re a bit riskier.

Mobile payments as a low-impact savings tool that also makes decent interest? A great idea. While there’s clear potential for misuse, the idea as it stands should prove welcome, accessible, and fairly widely used.