The move is based on concerns that such payment systems lack risk controls and regulations, said the report, later confirmed by other media outlets.
The reported halt to these online financial services has hit the relevant stocks hard, with Tencent Holdings tumbling 4.9% in Hong Kong, and China Citic Bank (which just announced plans to team with Tencent on virtual credit cards) down 6.4%.
Quoting a policy document from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the report said the security of virtual credit card and offline QR-code payment remains “questionable.”
The PBOC urged Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s Tenpay to halt these services and to file reports about these products to financial regulators.
The central bank currently lacks “clear and exact” regulations on such emerging business models, which may make it difficult to control possible risks at the moment, the report quoted an unnamed source from China UnionPay as saying. (China UnionPay, itself a payment network, was established under the approval of central government and the PBOC.)