Alipay begins beta-testing the rumored Passbook-like service, called Ka Bao, today. Similar to Apple’s Passbook, local coupons, digital tickets or membership cards can be added to Ka Bao (Update: its official name turned out to be Alipay Wallet). What’s more, it integrates personal financial features and will enable personal financial analysis service, according to Xu Ji, general manager of mobile payment businesses at Alipay (article in Chinese). The service will be officially launched in January 2013. Possibly another official name will be revealed then.
Location-based features are enabled for users’ offline whereabouts. Coupons for certain locations will show up on your phone screen whenever you are approaching those places.
It seems Alipay plans to make it a money management tool, more than a payment service. Users can use it pay credit card bills or manage balance. The development team also plans to develop features such as a warning line that will send out notifications when consumption is about to excess what a user plans to spend. “Offering users with most comprehensive and convenient services. At the same time, adding value to users’ money in this wallet. That’s the key point to attract and retain users”, Mr. Xu said they’d roll out new features every quarter in 2013.
10% of transactions were paid trough mobile this year, Mr. Xu said, it is expected the number will reach 20% next year. Before Ka Bao, users are able to pay utility bills, pay credit card bills or transfer cash through Alipay mobile app.
2000 convenience stores enable Alipay
Meiyijia, a convenience store chain, has had 2000 stores accept Alipay through smart phones. A payment will be finished by scanning a QR code in each store with Alipay mobile app on Android or iOS devices. Settings allow users to avoid typing in passwords for spending under 200 yuan.
To make sure of security, Alipay was working on top of Meiyijia’s underlying payment system. The deployment of the payment service started from the past September.