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China Looks to Limit Online Payments to $800 Per Day

Online spending sprees could be kept at bay in China as the country’s central bank has proposed limiting the size of per day payments through third-party systems like Alipay to ensure consumer security.

According to Xinhua, the People’s Bank of China released a proposal Friday, which, if implemented, would limit the amount shoppers could spend each day through third-party online payments to between 1,000 yuan ($161) and 5,000 yuan ($805) depending on how sophisticated the security checks are.

Platforms that have both digital certification and signature qualification in place would be exempt from the limit, but those with only one of the two verifications will face the lower daily cap.

For systems that have two or more checks but don’t include a signature or digital certification, shoppers will only be able to spend 5,000 yuan per day.

Consumers spending more than the allowed sum will be transferred to state-owned banking payment platforms to pay the difference.

If the bank’s payment curb proposal passes, smaller third-party payment services may be forced to consolidate, bolstering the position of bigger players like Tencent and Alipay—which currently controls 50 percent of the third-party pay market share—and forcing consumers to use state-owned bank services.

The move isn’t aimed at controlling online shopping, according to a Barclay’s report, it’s designed to better govern third-party payment channels.

But Chinese consumers are already expressing their outrage via social media, according to the South China Morning Post. One Weibo (China’s Twitter) user said, “So now we can’t decide for ourselves how much of our own money we would want to spend?”