Ant Financial adds messaging, P2P payments and loyalty offers to mobile app

Ant Financial adds messaging, P2P payments and loyalty offers to mobile app

Alibaba's Ant Financial has revamped its mobile payments app to incorporate a wealth of new features including merchant discounting and loyalty points, mobile-to-mobile money transfer and social messaging services.

Formerly known as Alipay Wallet, the new Alipay 9.0 app, includes a redesigned user interface as well as added functions geared to provide easy mobile access to purchase and pay for products and services from local restaurants, shops and other outlets, to obtain discount e-coupons, and share product recommendations and red envelopes with friends, among other features.

“The new Alipay app is no longer a wallet,” says Fan Zhiming, president of Ant Financial’s payment business unit. “It is a platform which will change the way you shop, the way you spend and the way you manage your finances. It is not just another app, it is the super app tailored for every individual consumer.

While payment capabilities remain the backbone of the app, the expanded functionality provides a host of value-added services for both small merchants and end-users, he explains.

The redesigned app features two new tabs for 'Merchants' and 'Friends'. Through the Merchants tab, users can learn the locations of nearby restaurants and shops, get discounted coupons, and settle payments at merchants' e-shops via Alipay, as they can when shopping online. Users can also pay merchants by scanning barcodes or QR codes at cash registers.

The Friends tab includes an instant money transfer button, an IOU tab and messaging functions that enable people to share information on purchases and special offers.

Eighty percent of Alipay's 400 million customers are active mobile users. Over 130,000 restaurants and eateries across China accept Alipay as a payment option, including 5000 KFC restaurants and big supermarket chains such as Carrefour, Ole and Walmart.

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