What's New in Payments

Chinese banks and carriers to pilot central bank digital currency

China’s central bank likely to pilot digital currency in cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou — Coindesk — “The People’s Bank of China is said to be preparing to launch pilots for its digital currency in at least two major cities. The tests are likely to include the participation of state-owned partners. These comprise the ‘Big Four’ commercial banks — the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China — and three telcos: China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.”


What's New in Payments

Central bank reports continued growth in Chinese mobile payments market

China mobile payments maintain rapid growth in Q3 — Xinhua — “Banks in the country processed 27.27bn mobile payment transactions in the period, up 61.05% year on year, said the People’s Bank of China in a report. The value of these transactions increased by 31.52% from the same period of last year to 86.11tn yuan (about US$12.2tn). Meanwhile, online payment transactions by the non-banking institutions were valued at 63.99tn yuan in Q3, up 23.04% year on year.”






What's New in Payments

China’s central bank to develop a digital currency

Central bank unveils plan on digital currency — China Daily — “The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, is organising market-oriented institutions to jointly research and develop a central bank digital currency and the programme has been approved by the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, Wang Xin, director of the PBOC Research Bureau, said at a seminar at Peking University.”


What's New in Payments

Chinese banks report 73% growth in mobile payment transactions

Mobile payment on fast growth in China — Xinhua — “The country’s banks processed 14.92bn mobile payment transactions in Q2, up 73% year on year, according to the People’s Bank of China. The value of these transactions totalled 62.88tn yuan (US$9.15tn), up 60% year on year… Online payment transaction value by non-banking institutions totalled 48.29tn yuan in Q2, up 53.35% year on year.”


What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

Central bank patents point to plans for a hybrid digital currency in China

PBOC filings reveal big picture for planned digital currency — Coindesk — “The ultimate goal, according to PBOC’s patents, is to ‘break the silo between blockchain-based cryptocurrency and the existing monetary system’ so that the digital currency can sport cryptocurrency-like features, while being widely used in the existing financial structure.”


What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

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.”



What's New in Payments

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.”


What's New in Payments

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.”



What's New in Payments

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%.”


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