TikTok has recently faced pushback from its biggest market for TikTok Shop, the face of the platform’s expanding e-commerce push. But despite the backlash, the social-media platform is testing a new in-app wallet that could help simplify users’ in-app purchases through a centralized payments tracking platform that includes a currency native to TikTok.
“TikTok has a new 'Balance' feature,” wrote app researcher Matt Navarra on X. “A virtual TikTok wallet to manage your rewards, coins, and transactions.”
Navarra’s screenshots of the tested feature display the new centralized payment space where TikTok users will be able to track all of their in-app transactions, rewards, and TikTok Coins –– the platform's own in-app currency.
According to the test, users can exchange their Coins for virtual items they can then give to their favorite creators in the app, similar to Reddit's system of gold and karma upvote system, or Meta's Stars in-app currency.
“Find your rewards from Live, Creator Fund, subscriptions, and more,” the screenshot reads, under the image of a credit card.
The test features and the TikTok credit card image will likely raise concerns among governments and regulators worried about the popular social platform providing a direct channel for China-owned businesses to infiltrate local economies.
On Monday, Indonesia introduced new rules that will prohibit social-media companies from facilitating direct e-commerce payments on their platforms as a means of keeping the country’s small to medium businesses intact.
The decision, directed at TikTok's parent company ByteDance, mandates that companies will be able to advertise their products on the platform but not conduct direct transactions –– the main driver of TikTok’s new shopping offering.
In fact, TikTok is currently the only social-media company that allows direct e-commerce transactions on its platform.
“Social commerce was born to solve a real world problem for local traditional small sellers, by matching them with local creators who can help drive traffic to their online shops,” a TikTok Indonesia spokesperson said in a statement. “While we respect local laws and regulations, we hope that the regulations take into account its impact on the livelihoods of more than 6 million sellers and close to 7 million affiliate creators who use TikTok Shop.”
As Indonesia –– its first and largest market for TikTok Shop –– will no longer be the blueprint TikTok originally hoped it would be for further expansion into additional markets, like the U.S., TikTok is still continuing with its e-commerce push via the centralized wallet feature.