While Alibaba’s Sesame Credit has increased access to loans in China the government recently told them to stop a national rollout of the program; John Gapper from the FT writes that there are three main issues behind social credit scores in China; technology companies have a more liberal attitude than banks when it comes to data; social credit scores seem to promote spending and more credit where as a traditional FICO score rewards a user for self control; the scores are proprietary to the companies who created them like Alibaba did with Sesame Credit. Source.
Only 25 percent of the Chinese population is considered to have a traditional credit score; for non bank lenders gathering alternative data like transactions and social media has helped them to identify potential borrowers who the banks will not serve; Ant Financial has built out Sesame Credit who gathers this type of data and other online lenders have also begun using different data pieces to assess risk. Source.
AliPay launched a free service this week which allowed users to generate a profile based on their shopping history; users who signed up were automatically enrolled in their credit-scoring system called Sesame Credit unless they unchecked a box; this led to an outcry from users and a subsequent apology from the company; Bloomberg shares how this highlights a broader concern over transparency of user data in the country. Source