PBOC Checks Complaint of Breach of Online-Payment Identity Rules

  • Shanghai lawyer flagged case of alleged failure to check ID
  • Tencent, firm behind Weixin Payment, declines to comment

China’s central bank will review a Shanghai lawyer’s complaint that an online-payment service provided by Tencent Holdings Ltd. let him set up an account and make transactions without verifying his identity.

The People’s Bank of China received a complaint this week and will deal with it under the law, it said in an e-mailed response Thursday to a question from Bloomberg. Tencent, which has previously told users to comply with identity rules, declined to comment.

In a phone interview, Wang Yujia, of Yingke Law Firm in Shanghai, said he provided evidence that Weixin Payment, part of Tencent’s Wechat service, violated rules effective July 1 that require users of non-bank payment services to prove their identities. He alleged he was able to set up an account and make transactions without providing any proof. Wang, who received his license to practice law in August 2014, said he is not affiliated with any of Tencent’s competitors.

Under the rules, real-name registration is required for non-bank payment services such as Weixin Pay and its rival Alipay, which is owned by an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. For a so-called “comprehensive account,” allowing annual online or mobile payments of as much as 200,000 yuan ($30,000) per person, users need to provide five proofs of identity.

WeChat had 762 million monthly active users by the end of March.