Rebecca Ning, along with 43 million other Chinese, has found a way to make about 6 percent annually, or 17 times her usual interest rate, by tapping her phone and using technology that's disrupting China's banking status quo.

Employing Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s affiliate Alipay, an Internet payment system similar to PayPal, Ning pokes a silver icon with the first Chinese character for "pay" to transfer money from her bank account in Beijing to Alipay's investing platform, Yu'E Bao. She earned 430 yuan ($71) in interest on 30,000 yuan in almost three months last year, instead of the 26 yuan that she would have earned had she left the money in her checking account.

"I put any spare cash I have into Yu'E Bao," said Ning, 24, a graduate student from southern Guangxi province who raves about the process. "I'm basically losing money if I leave it as a bank deposit, as it's depreciating in value every day."

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