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Sesame Credit determines who can ride ofo bikes deposit-free

By He Wei in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-03-16 17:17

Chinese bike-sharing startup ofo is teaming up with Sesame Credit, a credit rating system by Ant Financial Services Group, to waive the deposit for trusted users in Shanghai.

Those who have a sesame credit of 650 points or higher in Shanghai won't have to pay the 99 yuan ($14.4) deposit before unlocking a bike, Zhang Siding, ofo co-founder, said at a press conference in Shanghai.

Users scan the QR code on the bikes using Alipay, the e-wallet run by Ant Financial, and the payment tool can detect if the user passes the credibility threshold to skip the deposit, Hu Tao, general manager of Sesame Credit, said.

Shanghai is the first city to roll out the services. According to Hu, the adoption of a social credit system is also aimed at tracking user behaviors and preventing problems like theft and vandalism.

As one of the most popular bike-sharing apps, ofo has invested in 1.5 million bikes, accumulating over 25 million registered users. It has provided 400 million rides since its debut in 2015, Zhang said.

Ant Financial, which has 450 million users, evaluates an individual's purchasing and spending habits in order to derive a figure that shows how creditworthy someone is.

Passing certain numerical benchmarks would entitle one to certain perks, like small loans, or in this case, waivers on deposits.

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