Hong Kong Monetary Authority announces launch of Faster Payment System

Maria Nikolova

In addition to the Hong Kong Dollar, the new system also supports Renminbi payments.

Hong Kong is steadily moving towards new financial technology implementation. Today, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the launch of the Faster Payment System (FPS).

The new system operates on a round-the-clock basis and connects banks and stored-value facility (SVF) operators on the same platform. It permits the public to transfer funds anytime, anywhere, across different banks or SVFs with funds available almost immediately. Fund transfer will become very user-friendly with the use of mobile number or email address as account proxy for the payee.

The FPS supports Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and Renminbi (RMB) payments.

Effective today, the public can make use of the mobile app of participating banks and SVFs to register their mobile phone number or email address with the FPS as an account proxy for receiving funds. And from September 30, 2018, the public will be able to make transfers or receive funds using the FPS.

At present, a total of 21 banks and 10 SVFs in Hong Kong have participated in the system to provide FPS services for their customers at launch.

In addition, to promote the adoption of QR code (Quick Response code) payments in Hong Kong, the HKMA announced the Common QR Code Standard for Retail Payments in Hong Kong together with the launch of an associated mobile application tool. A free mobile application tool, namely “Hong Kong Common QR Code” (HKQR), is released today, which can be used for converting multiple QR codes from different payment service providers into a single, combined QR code. This is set to facilitate merchants, especially small and medium enterprises, in using a single QR code to accept different payment schemes, instead of displaying multiple QR codes to their customers.

Last week, Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, outlined a number of fintech initiatives. She noted the importance of the new business model of virtual banking. In May, the HKMA issued revised guidelines for the authorisation of virtual banks. It has received about 30 virtual bank applications to date, ranging from telecommunications operators and Fintech companies to global banks. The HKMA aims to start granting licences to virtual banks by the first quarter of next year.

Mrs Lam said that the Hong Kong Government targeted Fintech as a key technology area to focus on and invest in. She stressed that fintech investment in Hong Kong has spiralled in recent years, from about US$108 million in 2015 to US$216 million in 2016, and some US$546 million last year.

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