A Quick Guide to China’s Sesame Credit

November 22.2017
sesame credit china guide

Imagine living in a world where your life is defined by a number. No, it’s not your age, not your test score, not your body size…

It’s a social score that defines how reliable you are. This score will decide what you can have in the society.

This might sound like a strange concept but in China it’s not hard to find someone who would happily show you their scores. If you’re dating, you might want to check someone’s score before hitting the “chat now” button. Many businesses now filter their customers using this credit system.

What’s this mysterious credit score thing?

Getting a bit confused? Ok… we were talking about Sesame Credit. Sesame Credit (Zhima credit) is so far the most popular and well-known in China’s social credit field. To make it easier for our readers, we have prepared a quick overview of what Sesame Credit is and how it works.

What is Sesame Credit (Zhima Credit)?

Sesame Credit (Zhima Credit) is an independent third-party credit check company run by Ant Financial. Ant is an affiliate company of the Chinese Alibaba Group. Sesame Credit uses the data it collects to assign a score to its users. The lowest score is 350 and the highest is 950. Those with a higher score can enjoy convenience and benefits in many areas, such as getting a credit card, shopping, applying for a loan, booking a hotel room, renting a house or car, dating and so on.

Examples of data that Sesame Credit collects

sesame credit alibaba china social credit score
© 2017 angrymoo

Top 10 cities that have introduced deposit-free services supported by sesame credit

sesame credit used in different cities in China
Source: <<全国城市信用免押服务报告>>

How Sesame Credit is used

A hospital in Guangzhou, China allows patients with over 650 sesame credit to pay post medical treatments (with a cap of $3,000 RMB). ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

sesame credit no need to pay deposit at China hospitals
Photo by Sina Tech

Users with a good sesame credit score can borrow umbrellas and power banks for free. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

sesame credit borrow umbrella china
Photo by ishuo.cn
sesame credit borrow phone charger china
Photo by ishuo.cn

There was a brief period when users with a sesame score of 750 or above could access the priority lane at the Beijing airport. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ​

sesame credit china airport priority lane
Photo by ithome.com

Users with a sesame score above 600 can book a xiaozhu room (short-term rentals) without any deposit and get 50% off on the first night stay. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ​

sesame credit short term rental no deposit in china
Screenshot of xiaozhu.com

Users with a good sesame score can rent (long-term) on Mogoroom.com ​without paying any deposit. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ​​

sesame credit china rent without deposit

Users with a score above a certain level can rent bikes without paying any deposit. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ​

sesame credit shared bikes no deposit
Photo by xueqiu.com

On dating websites like Baihe.com, you can check someone’s sesame credit score before deciding if you want to speak to that person. ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ​

sesame credit china dating
Screenshot of baihe.com

Users with 700+ or 750+ sesame points can apply for visa to Singapore and Luxembourg respectively using a much more simple online process with less documents to hand in.  ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ​

sesame credit chinese tourists

A potentially very powerful system

Sesame Credit is increasingly used by the Chinese population in many important areas such as shopping, dating, car and bike rental, room rental, loan and credit card applications and so on. Businesses are also taking advantage of Sesame Credit by offering more tailored services for their customers and clients. If you have a high score, you can also enjoy more convenience and quality service. This is potentially an extremely powerful system that will have a huge impact on the way people interact and do business in China.

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