Bytedance in October quietly launched a lending app for Android devices, providing users with consumer credit, installment payments, and credit card services, media outlet TechPlanet reported.
Why it matters: In addition to expanding to social, games, productivity tools, education, and online reading, Bytedance is also making advances into financial services to boost its growth.
Details: Named “Manfen,” or “Full Score” in English, the app says users can qualify for loans up to RMB 200,000 (around $28,000) with a daily interest rate of 0.03% depending on credit history.
- Users need to provide their IDs and debit card information to borrow from the app.
- According to TechPlanet, a test account was given a credit limit of RMB 10,900, while another account wasn’t approved.
- Manfen also works with lenders such as China Everbright Bank and China Merchant Bank to release co-branded credit cards.
- The app’s installment payment service advertised in the description of Manfen on Android stores is currently unavailable within the app.
- Manfen shares a customer service number with content aggregator Jinri Toutiao’s loan feature “Fangxinjie,” or “Safe Borrowing,” which was launched in 2018, according to TechPlanet.
- Loans from Manfen will appear on Fangxinjie if a user registers accounts on both platforms using the same phone number.
- A customer service representative told TechPlanet that Manfen is a portal for Jinri Toutiao’s Fangxinjie.
- Manfen and Fangxinjie have a total of more than 23 million self-reported registered users and says the total loans it facilitated amounts to RMB 12.8 billion.
- Fangxinjie works with three lenders for the personal loans: Bank of Nanjing, XW Bank, and Bank of China Consumer Finance. It is unclear whether Bytedance also acts as a lender.
Context: Besides consumer credit, Bytedance also has a number of medical insurance products on Jinri Toutiao. The company works with insurance companies such as Ping An and Taikang to provide the service.
- Bytedance was rumored to have acquired a payment license in February after it registered a number of payment-related trademarks in 2018, but the company soon denied (in Chinese) the reports.
- Fangxinjie, Jinri Toutiao’s loan feature, came under fire last year for reportedly functioning as a financial service without acquiring an online microloan license, but financial regulators haven’t yet made any moves on the platform.