Sesame (“Zhima” in Chinese), the user data-based credit scoring system of Ant Financial (formerly Small and Micro Financial Services Company), Alibaba’s finance arm which runs Alipay, is expected to be launched soon. Earlier this month its site,, went live.

LEERW, a Chinese online financial service provider, has been helping Ant Financial build the system. According to LEERW, the Sesame system will provide user identification and verification, credit scores and reports based on Alipay users’ tracks online. Every user who makes purchases on Alibaba marketplaces has an Alipay account, while Alipay also powers many third-party e-commerce sites where users can use it for payments, among others.

It is believed that the biggest advantage of the Sesame credit scoring system is in the purchase data and user behaviour insights Alibaba has been collecting over the years.

Whenever an Alipay user applies for a small loan from Alibaba’s finance arm, he or she can choose to give it permission to access his or her credit report.

Two months ago Alibaba released a series of programming interfaces (API) for third-party developers and businesses to take advantage of its resources and capabilities. One of them enables third parties to access the Sesame system for users’ credit scores or reports, user profiles, and so on. Financial institutions thus can use it make credit decisions. It is expected Ant Financial will charge third parties for accessing the Sesame credit scoring system.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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