Stricter rules on mobile payments to come in April

Business & Technology

TechNode reports that the People’s Bank of China has “issued a trial notice on the issuance of barcode payment services and two accompanying sets of provisional guidelines for code security and payment terminal specifications,” and that “all three will come into effect on April 1, 2018.”

  • The South China Morning Post has a good explanation of one of the key changes, stating that “all transactions over 500 yuan (US$76) will be subject to additional levels of verification. As the transaction value passes each trigger point — 1,000 yuan, 5,000 yuan and unlimited — so the security checks will increase.”
  • Caixin notes that the regulations also increase requirements for merchant registration, in order to address scams that “involve replacing legitimate codes of merchants by the ones linked to scammers’ accounts, or embedding viruses to steal users’ personal and payment information.”
  • The Financial Times says (paywall) that a large component of the rules is to eliminate subsidies that Tencent and Alibaba had showered on merchants in their bids for mobile payment supremacy.
  • But those subsidies were already on their way out since 2016, the FT notes, with “a decisive victory in the payments war by either side seeming impossible.”