Personal Payment Reception QR Codes in China Banned for Business Use

In October 2021, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) issued a notice that it would strengthen the management of payment acceptance terminals and related businesses, stipulating that personal payment reception QR codes cannot not be used for business, but can still be used normally for non-business scenarios. The rules will be officially implemented from March 1 this year.

Domestic media outlet Yicai learned on Monday that, in response to the question of whether personal collection codes can continue to be used from March 1, Tencent customer service said that the personal collection QR code can still continue to be used after March 1. Some users with obvious business behaviors need to upgrade their codes to dedicated business collection codes in compliance with regulations, according to the communication between Tenpay and the regulatory authorities.

The regulatory authorities will announce the standards of “obvious business behavior” in the near future, and the platform will be kept for a period of time as a transition period before users upgrade. If the upgrade standards are met, the WeChat Assistant will issue a message notification to the qualified users, and the personal collection code of other users who have not received the notification will not be affected.

Alipay customer service also replied, “We have been actively and deeply studying the relevant regulatory requirements. According to our communication with the regulatory authorities and understanding of the new regulations, after March 1, Alipay personal reception codes can continue to be used normally, while users of personal collection codes with obvious business behavior need to be upgraded according to regulations.”

Alipay customer service also stated that after the regulatory authorities announce the identification standard of “obvious business behavior,” users of personal reception codes who need to be upgraded will be reminded and guided in conspicuous positions such as the homepage of “merchant service,” and a period of time will be reserved as a transition period. Users who have not received the notification can continue to use the personal code normally without being affected.

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The PBoC has previously stated that the Payment and Clearing Association of China is studying and formulating relevant standards. Relevant standards will be released in the near future.

According to the PBoC, the regulations can help to better protect consumers’ rights and interests. They can help prevent criminals from stealing consumers’ personal information or even stealing account funds by means of transforming payment acceptance terminals and applying for false merchants. It is easier to improve the service quality of banks and payment institutions such as statements and transaction information inquiry, fully protecting consumers’ right to know about and reduce related disputes and complaints. It will also further improve the payment reception service experience for individual operators and small and micro-sized businesses.