Bank of China on Track to Achieve QR Code Compatibility with both Alipay and WeChat Pay


One of China’s leading big state-owned banks has announced efforts to achieve compatibility of QR codes with the country’s leading payments providers.

On 16 April Bank of China (BOC) announced that it had entered cooperation with China UnionPay and Alipay to achieve QR code compatibility.

BOC customers will be able to use the BOC mobile app to scan Alipay codes for online payments with a select group of trial vendors.

BOC said that the goal of the cooperation is to make the QR code payments market safe and more efficient and standardised in accordance with the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) guidance opinions on QR code compatibility.

In January BOC commenced co­op­er­a­tion with China Union­Pay and WeChat Pay on tri­als to achieve “face-to-face” com­pat­i­bil­ity of QR codes for pay­ments pur­poses. 

Ping An Bank has also taken the lead in achieving full QR code compatibility with both WeChat Pay and Alipay.

China’s financial authorities have been pushing for sector-wide QR code compatibility since the end of 2019.

The “Fin­tech De­vel­op­ment Plan (2019 – 2021)” (金融科技(Fin­Tech)发展规划(2019-2021)年) re­leased by the Chi­nese cen­tral bank in Sep­tem­ber 2019 high­lighted the com­pat­i­bil­ity of QR code pay­ments as a key goal. 

The Plan called for “dri­ving QR code pay­ment com­pat­i­bil­ity, re­search­ing and for­mu­lat­ing com­pat­i­ble bar­code pay­ment tech­nol­ogy stan­dards, uni­fi­ca­tion of bar­code pay­ment cod­ing reg­u­la­tions, es­tab­lish­ment of a bar­code pay­ment tech­nol­ogy sys­tem, over­com­ing the bar­ri­ers be­tween bar­code pay­ment ser­vices, and achieve mu­tual recog­ni­tion and scan­ning of the codes of dif­fer­ent apps and ven­dors.”

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