Alipay Everywhere began as an April Fools’ prank in 2015, but 18 months later the feature has become a reality. Alipay Everywhere has the capacity to influence the future of payments and has opened another door to P2P commerce.
On April Fools’ Day in 2015, Alipay released a video about a new service feature that it would be launching in China called Alipay Everywhere. The idea of Alipay Everywhere is to allow users to search for someone within their vicinity to help them out with whatever tasks they need, from exchanging some coins to trouble-shooting a problem with their laptop, or even using someone as an ATM when there are none around. When a request is made over the Alipay app, the service uses the phone’s GPS to identify Alipay users within the vicinity and alerts them. Those who see the alert can decide if they want to help out. If a fee is offered or asked for, this is then exchanged through Alipay’s P2P payment mechanism.
18 months later, Alipay Everywhere is now a reality. In a sense, Alipay Everywhere has combined the features of online freelance marketplaces such as Uber, Airbnb, and PayPal all under the hood of the Alipay Wallet app. What Alipay has done is create opportunities for users in its Alipay Wallet ecosystem to greater utilize P2P payment functions, not just among family and friends but strangers on the street as well.
Current digital freelance marketplace services are mainly limited to bigger tasks such as fixing a leaking tap. Alipay Everywhere on the other hand includes, or maybe even specializes in, services that are needed instantly, such as troubleshooting a laptop issue while working at a café. These instances happen all the time but, until Alipay Everywhere, they tend to be so minute that people don’t go out of their way for help in solving them.
While Alipay doesn’t take a cut of each transaction, what’s important is that it has created an opportunity for Alipay Wallet users to utilize the P2P payment function of the app for micro-transactions, further driving consumer payment behavior towards mobile payments and Alipay specifically.
By Arnie Cho, Senior Consumer Payments Analyst