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Obtaining a Payment Institution license in China

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Obtaining a PI license in China in 2020

Key benefits of obtaining a PSO License in China:

  • China is one of the most developed countries in the world;
  • Stable economy; 
  • Highly developed banking system; 
  • High technology and innovation support;
  • The license is valid for 5 years with the possibility of renewal.
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According to local Chinese laws, payment services may be provided by non-banks. For this, the TPPs and PSOs must obtain a payment service license in China (PSO license or, a so-called payment institution license) from the NBC.

In 2018, the NBC published a Notice (No. 7 of 2018), according to which the FIEs can apply for obtaining a payment license in China, in accordance with the legal regime applicable to domestic enterprises.

Further, we will consider the basic requirements for companies applying for obtaining a payment institution license in China, and also consider some other nuances related to the issue.

Obtaining a PSP license in China

After obtaining of license for payment services in China, the applicant company (FIE) can conduct its activities like any local company. This means that the company gets the right to provide the following 3 types of payment services:

  1. Online payments: remittance of funds between recipients and payers through a public network;
  2. Issuance and reception of prepaid cards: the issuance of cards which can be used for buying goods and services (chip cards, cards with a magnetic strip, etc.);
  3. Collection of accounts using bank cards: accepting (on behalf of designated sellers) payments for services or goods through terminals and other devices.
Filing an application with the NSC for a PI license

In order to apply for obtaining a payment license, the applicant can send the necessary documents to the local branch (at the place of company registration) of the NBC. When the application will be preliminarily reviewed by the local office, it is redirecting to the NSC head office for approval.

The issued PI license is valid in China for 5 years. After the expiration date, it can be re-issued for another 5 years in accordance with NBC's preliminary approval.

Read also:
Conditions for obtaining an electronic payment service license in China

In order to obtain a license for the payment system in China, the applicant must be an LLC or a JSC, which are non-financial institutions.

Since, the applicant must comply with the established legal regime, the following requirements are imposed on him:

  • Minimum paid up capital: 100 million CNY (about 13.05 million EUR) for a nationwide payment license, or 30 million CNY (3.92 million EUR) for a payment license in a particular province of China;
  • At least five directors with experience in provision of payment services;
  • A system for anti-money laundering that meets all established requirements;
  • Availability of funds and equipment for the provision of payment services that meet established requirements;
  • The presence of a duplicate system ensuring the survivability of the overall system, as well as its emergency recovery;
  • The presence of well-designed corporate and system management rules;
  • Availability of a risk management system;
  • Availability of premises for doing business, as well as security measures that meet established requirements;
  • Requirement for the storage, processing and analysis of information (operations should be carried out only in China);
  • An external transfer of information is possible only after passing the FIE safety assessment, and also requires the consent of the relevant subjects of information, and a preliminary request to foreign partners, the purpose of which is to verify the fulfilling of confidentiality liabilities.

It is worth noting that in order to obtain a payment system license in China, the company and its management must have an impeccable reputation. Moreover, persons holding 10% or more in a company should also be an LLC or JSC and have an impeccable reputation.


Please, take into account that this article has been prepared and published for informational purposes, and should not be construed as legal advice, recommendations, or instructions for specific actions.

Since, the obtaining a PI license in China is a rather complicated procedure, it is advisable to find out reliable legal support before preparing an application.

If you need to resolve the issue related to the ordering of a Chinese PSP license, we draw your attention to the fact that IQD Consulting UK experts provide their clients with comprehensive legal advices on licensing of payment institutions in China.

We are also ready to provide you with the following services:

  • Assistance in preparing an application for obtaining a PSP license in China;
  • Legal support in preparing a business plan for the payment system;
  • Assistance in preparing the necessary documentation;
  • Legal support in obtaining a license for payment services in China; and
  • Other legal services.

You can find out more about our company's services by filling out the feedback form, or by calling us directly at the contacts below.

  • The information outlined in the article is actual at the time of its publication.
  • Please refer to our specialists for checking possible solutions for your business.
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