China’s social scoring system takes the idea of credit vetting to another level

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chinasocialcredit

Picture credit: Kevin Hong

Your credit score makes up a significant part of the whole when it comes to your social status – something we at pbVerify value, and use to promote sound decision making.

 

As SA’s leading credit data bureau, pbVerify knows how important it is – for businesses and consumers alike – to be familiar with their credit history, and well aware of their current credit status. There are good reasons for providing access to credit score information, all of which are aimed at promoting financial health and good business decisions.

The same beneficial system, however, has seemingly seen a more sinister twist, with the well-publicised move by the Chinese government to take it to a whole new level – one that instils fear, rather than protecting the people it is in place for.

We all know about social status and, whether we like to admit it or not, it is important to us. Nowadays we use social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat to project a certain idea about ourselves to the world around us – a feature these platforms refer to as a user’s “Status”.

pbVerify specialises in one of the most influential aspects or “scores” that make up a personal status – your credit score. While most consumers are all too familiar with what a credit score means, the implications of a negative score and the importance of knowing your score, the system the Chinese government plans to implement over the next few years, in which every citizen is tagged with a social score, sounds like the makings of a science fiction novel.

China’s Social Credit System (SCS), whereby the government plans to rank its citizens based on their social credit, is due to be implemented in full by 2020, although its wheels are already well in motion. It basically allocates each citizen a social score card based on – among other things – their credit history, behaviour, philanthropic contributions and even outlook on life and events. The government will garner this information based on citizens’ accounts and network activities.

Going forward, this social credit score will be used to rank citizens and reward – or punish – them accordingly. Some of the implications include travel bans, exclusion from top schools (for kids of parents with low credit scores) and from certain jobs, slow internet connection, exclusion from hotels, and even registration on a public blacklist.

In development for some time already (reportedly conceived around 2014 in its current form) and set in motion in earnest in late 2018, China’s SCS has already seen millions of Chinese citizens prohibited from travelling, with a reported 1.75 million air ticket purchases, and 5.5 million train ticket purchases denied last year.

While China claims its aim with the SCS is to enhance trust and social stability by creating a “culture of sincerity”, most are less optimistic about the system’s ultimate goal, with many referring to it as an Orwellian Dystopia, and calling it “nightmarish”.

The jury is sure to be out on this one for some time, at least as far as the general public goes. If nothing else conclusive for now, it does go to show the weight social scores – or statuses – can hold.

We are all about empowerment

At pbVerify, we pride ourselves in providing a service that is accessible, easy to use – and above all, beneficial to our customers. Our focus is on empowering our customers every step of the way, by imparting knowledge that enables sound, intelligent financial decisions.

We constantly strive to put the power squarely in the hands of local businesses, to enable them to quickly and comprehensively make informed decisions with regard to the customers they onboard.

To this end, we recently bolstered our TransUnion Business Report with Quick Vet 4 Business (QV4B) – an instant online tool that enables credit vetting decisions in a matter of seconds.

Granting credit to new customers does not need to be a long, complicated process. Read HERE for more on how QV4B can speed up your business’s decision making and credit granting processes, giving you more time to attend to the things that matter most.

For more information or to speak to a pbVerify consultant call 010 300 4898 or email support@pbverify.co.za.

[REFERENCES]

  1. Wikipedia – Social credit system
  2. ABC Australia – China uses social credit surveillance system to ban millions from buying plane and train tickets
  3. Opploans – For people with bad credit, China’s ‘Social Credit’ scores sound like an actual nightmare
  4. Wired – Big Data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens
  5. Wired – The complicated truth about China’s social credit system
  6. pbVerify Blog – pbVerify bolsters credit risk management portfolio
  7. TransUnion – Quick Vet 4 Business