Last month, a new feature appeared on Alipay for a selected few. Called “Fabei”, it allows small employers to pay their staff salaries – essentially through a bulk transfer.
The transfer is free of charge. Although from order creation and money flow point of view, the bulk transfer is not a new concept. Ant Financial doing that signifies a few things:
- It responds to the demand from many small employers, who are already paying their staff (and suppliers) using Alipay. Currently, they have to make the transfer one by one and doing that in bulk obviously makes it easier.
- More money is captured (and circulating) within the Alipay ecosystem, making it stronger.
- Allowing businesses more use cases will strengthen Ant Financial’s data capabilities and eventually make it even more competitive. Capturing the payroll data will allow it to better assess the companies’ creditworthiness, preciously as utility bills payment did for consumers.
Currently, there is a cap of CNY 50k (US$7.24k) per transaction and CNY250k (US$36.2k) per day. Obviously, if the test is successful and if regulation allows, expanding that limit is just a matter of time.
As for the naming of Fabei (发呗), it follows the trend of other products such as Huabei (花呗), a virtual credit card, and Jiebei (借呗), a microloan service. Jiebei is very profitable.