WeChat and Alipay's small-sum payment remain unfettered for personal use
WeChat and Alipay users who occasionally use QR codes to collect small-sum payments will not be subject to business tax or tighter rules, according to the latest announcement from the Payment and Clearing Association of China.
To better facilitate the business environment and offer more convenient, targeted payment services, people can also voluntarily use a separate, individual, business-transaction reception code, the association said on Tuesday.
WeChat and Alipay both said transaction reception codes for individual use will remain unaffected after March 1.
The new clearing and payment requirements came after the central bank asked payment and clearing service providers to prevent individual QR code use for conducting business transactions.
The association also said it would improve the payment-reception service experience for individual operators and small and micro-sized businesses.
Small-sum mobile payments have become hugely popular and ubiquitous for commuting, grocery shopping and other uses.
The online payment user base in China is 872 million, representing more than 86 percent of the country's Internet user base, according to a report last August from the state-backed China Internet Network Information Center.
Alipay and Tencent's payment platform Tenpay are the leading third-party service providers with about half of the total market share, according to domestic consultancy Analysys International.
The central bank has asked third-party service providers to differentiate payment reception codes used for individual and business transaction uses, and prevent these reception codes from illegitimate activities starting March 1.
For individuals with transaction data for "obvious business activities," QR code payment service providers should regulate these accounts as business merchants accordingly after the new rules take effect in March, the bank said in a notice to clearing and payment services last October.
Payment authorities are studying and formulating relevant standards to identify small and micro-merchant business activities, and relevant standards will be released in the near future.
WeChat will provide a separate reception code for those who need to use their personal accounts to conduct small and micro business, and will send invitations to those eligible through WeChat payment's official service accounts.
Those with individual business reception codes can also access ledger functions and transaction-related analysis.
Alipay also noted that individuals who use business reception QR codes do not have to pay extra commissions or additional charges to transfer their business income into external bank accounts.