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.”