Cash transfers to stop for payment system upgrade

PBOC chooses National Day holiday to improve service platform to minimise impact on users

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 2:31am

Mainland banks will suspend cross-bank money transfer services during the National Day holiday next week to upgrade to the second-generation payment system.

But people will still be able to transfer money through other channels such as the UnionPay system and through cheques.

The People's Bank of China said in an announcement yesterday commercial banks and financial institutions would upgrade their real-time payment systems for cross-bank money transfer and online clearing services.

The central bank said the process of switching to the new system would be relatively complicated. The suspension would take longer than that for routine maintenance and demand synchronisation operations by the central bank and the 1,800 users on its platforms - mainly commercial banks and their provincial branches.

"To minimise the impact on corporate and individual customers, we choose to [upgrade the system] during the National Day holiday," the bank said.

It also said that if customers informed their banks in advance of plans to transfer large amounts during the holiday, they could be arranged.

Most banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, Agricultural Bank of China and China Merchants Bank, have issued announcements on their websites about the service suspension from September 30 to October 8.

The central bank started upgrading the banking payment system in 2009 to improve the clearing efficiency, add functions and expand services.

The upgrading is expected to be completed by October next year.

In the first half of this year, the central bank's payment and clearing system processed an average of 6.33 million deals amounting to 8.2 trillion yuan (HK$10.3 trillion) per day.