Oyku Cicek Butun Staff reporter, The Pawprint
Credit scores are an important concept for many and are said to make adult life easier for citizens. For example, a good credit score can contribute to buying a house, a car or taking a loan.
China has taken the idea of credit scores to the extreme. In 2011, 1 in 3 Chinese people had a bank account. Taking its rapid economic growth into consideration, the nation’s rapid rise from a collectivized penury to the world’s No. 2 economy means it never had the chance to develop Western-style credit histories.
This created a lack of trust as people could default on loans with few repercussions. In response to this, the Chinese government allowed eight companies to run trial commercial credit scores, one of which being, Sesame Parent Ant Financial.
Data is of course an important aspect of this process. To receive the data Sesame had access to the records of the payment app Alibay which has 1 billion users worldwide to date. The system functions like an extreme frequent-flyer scheme, transforming the entirety of society into a first class lounge. People with high scores get multiple benefits that make their life easier, these people can rent cars without a deposit, get better rates of foreign exchange and even skip hospital lines.
The score is kept high by being a loyal user of Alibay. People go as far as investing in the firms saving funds. As well these, sociable behavior is equally important. Actions as simple as parking in an undesignated area is a no go for people who want to keep their score up. This system in addition to CCTV in China is to engineer good behavior. Good deeds gain points, doing ‘good’ things, such as giving blood, can decrease loan interest rates.
China is planning on fully and opaquely implementing this in 2020, controlling every human facet. This system can be simplified as punishment and reward, completely abolishing any kind of fraud or ‘bad’ behavior.
If a citizen does end up committing an act of disliked behavior they get put on the list of untrustworthy people. This list causes people to not be able to ride trains and face many struggles in the airport and regular life, making lives hell.
All these new explored policies brought fright and interest from people as they question whether they should worry about all their information being exposed as well as promotes them under the potential guise of making the country safer.