Central bank tightens rules on accepting cards and cash in Chinese stores

As China goes increasingly cashless, PBOC says cash payment is still alive — South China Morning Post — “The central bank in China, the world’s largest mobile payment market, is urging individuals and companies to not refuse or discriminate against cash payment… The PBOC said cash should be accepted alongside the debit card at all business outlets, with the exception of e-commerce and unstaffed stores. Businesses have one month from Friday to make necessary adjustments to avoid being investigated for breaches by the authorities.”


Chinese consumers have now deposited $150bn with Alipay and Tencent

PBOC to raise reserve funds ratio for third-party payment firms to 100% — Caixin — “The two largest third-party payment firms, Alipay and Tenpay, combined hold nearly 1tn yuan (US$151bn) of customers’ funds, about 90% of the total reserve funds… Reserve funds are prepayments from online shoppers held temporarily by payment companies that can then earn income on the cash by depositing it in banks or even buying government bonds… The requirement means payment firms such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd backed Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Tenpay can no longer invest money deposited by their respective clients.”



Chinese banks report growth in mobile payments volumes

Chinese banks post robust growth in mobile payments — Xinhua — “Chinese banks posted robust growth in mobile payments in the first quarter of this year, according to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). Banking institutions handled 70.8 trillion yuan (US$11.1tn) in mobile payments in the period, up 16.8% year on year, the central bank data showed. Around 10.7bn payments were made through the banks’ mobile services in the first quarter, an increase of 17.8% year on year.”


Central bank fines Alipay for breaching data protection regulations

Alipay is stepping up data protection after PBOC fine — Yicai Global — “Alipay, the fintech platform run by Ant Financial Services Group, is looking to improve its data collection processes after China’s central bank fined it for breaching data protection regulations… Alipay published misleading video campaigns and its collection of personal financial information failed to meet minimum security requirements, the regulator said, adding that the firm also used data inappropriately.”


China goes live with QR payments spending cap

China caps store mobile payments at $80 — Nikkei Asian Review — “The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, implemented the caps on Sunday for different types of QR code payments, based on relative risk. For payments made by scanning a printed QR code displayed by the seller, the daily limit is set at 500 yuan (about US$80)… Such popular services as Alibaba Group Holding’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay are affected.”


China opens up its payments market to foreign companies

China allows foreigners to enter $27tn payments market — Bloomberg — “Foreign players can start applying for payment licenses and will be treated the same as local firms, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on Wednesday. Applicants must set up local units, establish payment infrastructure — including disaster recovery systems — and store client information domestically, the central bank said.”



China’s central bank sets out digital currency plans

PBOC official pushes for centralized state digital currency — Coindesk — “Unlike most cryptocurrencies, the CBDC [Central Bank Digital Currency] might not operate via a peer-to-peer mechanism, which brings the key features of anonymity and untraceability… Transactions using CBDC will be visible to the central bank, which would function as a third party to bring oversight on potential money laundering and illegal financing.”


China’s central bank to begin testing QR code payments registration and settlement regulations from April

China’s central bank to standardize QR code payment — Xinhua — “The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced plans Wednesday to regulate QR code payment to contain risks arising from the popular service. Payment institutions must obtain proper permits to offer barcode-based payment services, according to a document released by the PBOC. Both banks and non-banking payment institutions must channel cross-bank transactions involving barcodes through the clearing system of the PBOC or other legal clearing houses… The standards will be put into trial use from April.”



Central bank requires Chinese mobile payments providers to set aside customers’ prepaid funds

China’s central bank to raise reserve funds ratio of third-party payment firms to 50% — Reuters — “China’s central bank said it will gradually raise the reserve funds ratio of third-party payment firms to 50% by April 2018 from a current rate of 20%, as it continues to ramp up regulation of the industry… It will eventually ban non-bank payment firms from making any private investments with money deposited by users, which would see the reserve rate at some point increased to 100%.”


Chinese ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing enters the payments market

Didi Chuxing picks up a payment license — Caixin — “Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing company, is speeding into the payments business, acquiring a much-coveted license to join the red-hot internet financial-services arena. Didi has agreed to fully acquire third-party payment-services provider 19Pay for 300m yuan (US$45.4m)… Last year, the PBOC said it would control the number of third-party payment licenses issued, making it increasingly difficult to get a license.”


UnionPay details its mobile payment app for China’s banks

Unified app of China’s banking industry, ‘Mobile QuickPass’ officially launches today — China UnionPay — “The ‘Mobile QuickPass’ app is a unified mobile payment portal jointly developed and maintained by commercial banks and UnionPay, under the guidance of the People’s Bank of China. Customers are able to link their bank cards to the app, manage different bank accounts, and enjoy the mobile payment services and benefits offered by each bank. The services offered by this app also include UnionPay QR code payment, signing up for various mobile payment solutions, comprehensive credit card services, P2P real-time transfer and payment services in various scenarios.”


China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate

China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate — Financial Times — “China’s central bank has ordered online payment groups to operate through a centralised clearing house, a move likely to undercut the dominance of Ant Financial and Tencent by forcing them to share valuable transaction data with competitors… The latest PBoC instructions require all payment companies to connect to the clearing house by October 15 and to channel all payments through it by June 30.”







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