The People’s Bank of China has temporarily suspended the use of virtual cards and payments based on Quick Response (QR) codes, as the government moves to put in stringent regulations on online financial products.
QR codes are bar code-like images, which a smartphone user scans with a downloaded application to to transmit web addresses, payment details, other information or track a shipment and verify a ticket stub.
The central bank stated that the latest decision has been taken over security concerns of the platforms.
The move comes just after the recent launch of virtual credit cards by Tencent and Alipay, an online payment subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba. The parties have teamed up with China CITIC Bank to issue the online credit cards.
A Tencent spokesman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying, "We continually review and take measures on suspicious cases of spam, violent, pornographic and illegal content."
Alipay users can have a minimum credit of CNY200 ($32.5) with the maximum limit based on their online credit records, while cards from Tencent can be availed by the users of WeChat, a mobile messaging app, with a minimum credit of CNY50 ($8.1) and a maximum limit of CNY5,000 ($814).