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China considers limiting third-party online payments

Updated: Aug 1,2015 3:51 PM     Xinhua

China’s central bank has proposed limiting the size of transactions through third-party online payment systems like Alipay to ensure security for consumers’ information and money.

Under the proposal released for public consultation on July 31 by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the amount shoppers would be able to spend through third-party online payment per day may be limited to between 1,000 yuan ($163.5) and 5,000 yuan, depending on how sophisticated the system’s security checks are.

While platforms that have both digital certification and signature qualification checks will be exempt from the restrictions, the limit would be set at 1,000 yuan per day if the platform has only one qualification check.

If the system has two or more checks but they do not include digital certification and signature, the limit would be 5,000 yuan.

Where they are spending more than the sum allowed, consumers would be transferred to banking payment platforms to pay the surplus, according to the PBOC proposal.

Meanwhile, consumers whose accounts limit them to shopping payments will be allowed to spend no more than 100,000 yuan per year if the system is adopted. Those with more premium accounts that also allow for services like share purchases would be allowed to spend no more than 200,000 yuan per year.

The regulation is based on surveys of Chinese consumers’ average spending via third-party payment platforms last year, according to an unnamed source from the PBOC.

The draft guideline also bans third-party payment platforms from opening accounts for institutions running financial businesses such as online lending firms to avoid risks.