China is piloting deposit-free apartment rental in eight cities, employing algorithms that track and rate people's credit worthiness to protect both tenants and landlords.

The move is among several programs in the country's drive to develop a nationwide social credit system that Beijing expects to roll out by 2020, experts said.

Over 1 million apartments for rent in China are linked with Alipay, the nation's top third-party financial platform, through which qualified consumers in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and five other cities can search for and secure verified apartments without paying a deposit.

The exemption of a down payment, which is normally equivalent to three months' rent, would relieve the financial burden of apartment hunters, said Wang Bo, general manager of the innovation and smart service of Ant Financial, which owns Alipay.

The deposit waiver threshold is set at 650 in Sesame Score, an indigenous credit-rating system developed by Ant Financial.

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