The People's Bank of China (PBC) announced that new trial regulations on QR code payments made via digital wallet apps like Alipay and WeChat will go into effect starting April 1, 2018.
Under the new regulations, all static QR codes (the QR code cut-outs found in many stores and F&B outlets that you scan to pay) payments will be capped at RMB500 per transaction.
This new move is set to help curb the rise in barcode scams in recent years. Scammers routinely find ways to replace a legitimate code with their own fake code; when a customer scans that, money is directed to the scammer instead of the vendor. Some QR codes are also embedded with viruses that are able to steal a user's personal information.
But what if you have to make a payment exceeding RMB500?
Dong Ximao, executive president of the Hengfeng Bank Institue explains that the regulation is directed specifically for vendors, and will have little impact on consumers. "If you spend more than RMB500 on dinner, just ask the cashier to scan the dynamic QR code on your phone, which is much safer."
The new regulations also expand to include increased security checks on transactions made via dynamic QR codes (your own personal, constantly changing QR codes). Starting from April, transactions will be divided into four different categories—A, B, C, and D. Category D are payments that amount up to RMB500, and will require little to no extra authentication from users.
Payments exceeding RMB1,000 belong under Category C, and will require no more than two types of validation for the transaction to be completed successfully. Category B sees payments that come up to over RMB5,000 and will require two types of security checks. Security checks consist of (but are not limited to) digital signatures and completed digital certificates.
Category A will require even more validation steps, and will require customers to take additional measures like ensuring that the daily payment limit is lifted on the day they're making such a large transaction.
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