The People’s Bank of China (PBC) announced strict new rules on mobile payment providers, increasing data collection requirements and setting daily transaction limits – a move said to encourage fair competition and protect consumers.
Under the new regulations, each customer will be given a cap on how much they can spend at merchants by scanning a QR code – the most common method of retail payments processed by market leaders Ant Financial and Tencent.
The cap is set according to the strength of verification used.
For “static bar codes” where few additional checks are made, the limit is CNY500 ($77). The maximum limit, for consumers offering two types of verification – including electronic signatures and digital certificates – is CNY5000.
Payment providers which are not traditional banks will also be required to obtain a new licence and must adhere to rules specifying the types of data they must collect from their merchant customers.
In a translated statement, PBC said the measures would: “Standardise the barcode payment business, protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, maintain a fair market competition environment, and promote the healthy and sustainable development of the mobile payment business.”
Following a trial of the system, the new rules come into force on 1 April.
The move to tighten regulation on QR code transactions comes after a clamp-down on direct mobile fund transfers announced in August.