Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment platform, will activate its major policy change, charging fees for withdrawals from Wednesday.
It was a month ago that Alipay announced that this transaction fee policy would be put into effect starting from October 12, on account of its ever-increasing operating costs. The monthly active users of Alipay were over 282 million in July, according to market research firm Analysys.
Alipay had previously reassured its users in mid-February that it would not introduce such a charge, right after WeChat, China’s leading social network, announced that it would start charging users for its own equivalent payment service.
Starting from tomorrow, each individual Alipay user will have a total free withdrawal limit of RMB 20,000 (USD 2,978) per person per lifetime. A service fee will be charged on all transactions occurring after this limit has been reached; that fee will be set at 0.1% of the transaction total each time.
But there is no need to worry too much. Alipay’s charging policy will only apply to transfers from users’ Alipay accounts to their own bank cards, or to others’ bank cards. There are a variety of methods to (legally) avoid these charges.
1 Spend the money
There will be no charges on online payments using money from an Alipay account, so the simplest way will be to just spend every cent in your Alipay account. Arguably this is the most fun but least sensible option.
2 Use Ant Points to exceed the withdrawal limit
Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial gives member points, called “Ant Points”, to Alipay users according to their consumption on Alipay. Users can spend their “ant points” to temporarily increase the withdrawal limit beyond 20,000. One Ant Point equals one RMB beyond the limit.
3 Withdraw from Yu’e Bao
Ant Financial has its own money market fund, Yu’e Bao, which is integrated into Alipay. Users can buy into the Yu’e Bao fund with the deposits in their bank cards that are bound to Alipay, and then transfer the money from Yu’e Bao into another bank card for free.
4 Withdraw via financial products
Users can buy financial products within Alipay, redeem the financial products into Alipay or Yu’e Bao accounts, and then withdraw the money to their bank cards, for free.
5 Pay with Ant Check Later
Ant Financial has an online consumer credit portal, Ant Check Later, which allows users to overdraft their accounts. Users only need to pay off the Ant Check Later with their Alipay balances on the due date.
6 Pay with your partner’s balances
Alipay provides users with a payment option called “Qinmi Fu”, or “Intimacy Payment”, which allows an Alipay user to pay with the balances of another user’s account directly. Often, this function is used by lovers and family members.
7 Pay off your credit cards
Users can pay off their credit cards with their Alipay account, free of charge.
8 Transfer to another Alipay account
Users can transfer their money to another person’s Alipay account. This other person can either spend the money, or pay a service fee to transfer it into his or her conventional bank account.
Alternatively, you could just get really rich and then you wouldn’t need to worry about any of this.
(Top photo from 93jiang.com)