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“Standards on UnionPay QR Code Payment” was officially issued

Learned from China UnionPay (CUP) official website on December 12, China UnionPay officially published the “Standards on UnionPay QR Code Payment” which mainly include two specifications - Security Specifications of CUP QR code Payment and Application Specifications of CUP QR Code Payment.

“Security Specifications” set forth specific security requirements for QR code reception equipment, mobile client and background system, etc. to ensure the security of account information and funds during payment, and provide security-related standards for the next design and development of QR code products by CUP and banks.

“Application Specifications” define the application scenarios of QR code payment and the security mechanism based on digital signature, set forth QR code application data elements applicable to the financial payment, and provide a reference standard basis for QR code coding scheme in the next design and development of QR code products by CUP and banks.

UnionPay QR code payment has the following four main unique features:

First, it follows the four-party model of current bank card payment to ensure the security of key elements including cardholder’s account and funds by taking payment security as the base line. UnionPay QR code payment is based on the card organization’s four-party model, its difference from physical bank card payment is only the change in payment information interaction mode, and its background account is still based on the entity bank card account. Just because it is still based on bank card accounts, there is no financial precipitation in the virtual account causing financial risks, and consumer’s funds are more secure. In addition, commercial banks can obtain transparent and complete payment information consistent with traditional bank card payment, facilitating risk identification and control and customer relationship management.

Second, the payment tokenization (Token) technology is used to ensure payment security.UnionPay QR code payment ensures the security of key elements including cardholder’s account and funds by taking payment security as the base line and developing a unified technical security mechanism. The payment tokenization (Token) technology is used to protect the sensitive information of account to ensure the security of account information during storage, processing and transmission and prevent risk of account information disclosure;

Third, the technology model is unified in the same scenarios, which can achieve interconnection. A unified technical program and model is used in the same QR code payment scenarios to achieve business interconnection between different agencies and ensure the consistency of user’s experience;

Fourth, UnionPay QR code payment is compatible with relevant international standards. With technical extensibility, UnionPay QR code payment can be extended to be compatible with relevant international standards in the future to ensure the cross-border interconnection of QR code payment business both at home and abroad in future.

The relevant head of CUP said that CUP would issue the supporting business rules and product solutions in succession subsequently, set up a platform, provide good services, and join with commercial banks and other member institutions to provide cardholders with more low-cost, secure and convenient payment options.

The relevant head of the payment department of the Central Bank said that at the early stage of launch, there were no unified technical standards and testing and certification standards on QR code payment, and no corresponding protection system for consumer’s rights and interests, so all-round promotion may lead to customer’s funds loss and information disclosure risk in a large area. The Central Bank halted QR code payment in March, 2014.

Since then, the Central Bank, on one hand, directed the payment and settlement associations and bank card clearing institutions to study and formulate relevant norms and technical standards, and on the other hand, did not stopped the road of exploring QR code payment. Under the limited support of the Central Bank, the third-party payment agencies such as Alipay launched the “reverse scan”, asking the merchant to use a scanner to scan the QR code generated by consumers, which promotes the development of QR code payment within a certain range.

With the continuous improvement of QR code payment technology and consumer’s awareness of payment security, the regulatory authorities are gradually changing their attitude towards QR code, they not only clear QR code’s payment positioning “as an effective complement of bank card payment”, but also will fully extend it after the establishment of normative system. The Central Bank also said that it would promptly promote QR code payment self-discipline standards up to the financial industry standards when the conditions are ripe.


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