China: WeChat and Alipay Payment Codes for Businesses Banned by People’s Bank of China

The People’s Bank of China has banned the use of WeChat and Alipay payment codes for businesses beginning on March 1, 2022, according to reports. WeChat and Alipay are the two most popular digital payment platforms in China.

According to China News, personal collection codes and barcodes for non-face-to-face collections will be halted. The report explains:

“What impact does the “Notice” have on consumers and small and micro businesses? The relevant person in charge of the central bank stated that the “Notice” will generally help to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, and will help prevent criminals from stealing consumer personal information and even embezzling account funds by modifying payment acceptance terminals and applying for false merchants. It is helpful to improve the service quality of banks and payment institutions’ statements, transaction information inquiry, etc., fully protect consumers’ right to know, and reduce related disputes and complaints; in the long run, the relevant requirements of the “Notice” on regulating personal collection codes will be further improved The quality of acquiring services for individual operators and small and micro merchants.” [translated]

 

In the past year or so, China has become more restrictive regarding certain financial services including the cessation of crypto mining and transactions. The ban on payments codes may also align with the emerging digital yuan, a CBDC [central bank digital currency] that is being tested in the Chinese market. The utilization of a government-supported CBDC may make it easier to monitor or stop illicit transactions.

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