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China Opens up Bank Card Clearing Services Market

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the China Banking Regulatory Commission have jointly issued the Measures for the Administration of Bank Card Clearing Institutions, effective 8 June 2016.

As supporting regulations of the Decision to Implement Market Access Administration for Bank Card Clearing Institutions issued by the State Council last year, the Measures are detailed provisions regulating market access for bank card clearing institutions, kicking off the PBOC’s liberalisation of bank card clearing business licence application, and marking the end of UnionPay’s monopoly in China’s bank card clearing market.

The Measures stipulate that foreign bank card clearing institutions intending to engage in renminbi bank card clearing business shall apply for the establishment of a domestic bank card clearing entity in accordance with law.

PBOC said that under the Measures domestic and foreign investors applying for the bank card payment clearing business licence will be subject to the same market access requirements in terms of licence conditions, application procedures and supervisory measures.

As regards branding, the PBOC clearly spelled out in the Measures that the bank card clearing entities have to use their own branding or that of their shareholders.

PBOC’s official said that along with record filing, the relevant trademark transfer or authorisation procedures in accordance with law shall be followed when using shareholders’ brands. A bank card clearing institution intending to use its offshore bank card clearing brand -- and the foreign entity owning the brand is currently providing foreign currency bank card clearing services for cross-border transactions -- shall transfer the service from the foreign entity to the domestic entity (to be established).

In addition, to promote the development of bank card clearing market, PBOC not only carries out the work in receiving and reviewing market access applications of bank card clearing service providers but will also strengthen the supervision and management of the bank card clearing market.

PBOC’s official said that entities engaging in the relevant business without permits will be banned and cracked down, and efforts will be taken to timely introduce supporting business management systems, strengthen oversight of the bank card clearing institutions' business operations, internal control, settlement risk and information security, strengthen the monitoring of cross-border foreign currency bank card clearing services provided by offshore entities, prevent systemic risk of bank card clearing business, maintain order of fair competition in the market and ensure healthy and sustainable development of the bank card clearing market.

For details of the Measures in Chinese, please see:


Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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