UnionPay targets Hong Kong and Macau customers via enhanced mobile payment service

Maria Nikolova

UnionPay International rolls out the “UnionPay” app in Hong Kong and Macau to enhance the local customers’ mobile payment experience.

As the technology and payment preferences of Hong Kong residents evolve, so does the offering provided to them by fintech companies. UnionPay International has announced that the unified mobile payment app of China’s banking industry, “UnionPay”, has started offering service to customers in Hong Kong and Macau.

Consumers in Hong Kong and Macau can now link their locally issued UnionPay cards with the “UnionPay” app and enjoy mobile payment service both in and outside Hong Kong and Macau.

Cai Jianbo, CEO of UnionPay International, said that in addition to providing local customers with mobile payment services, this new step mainly meets two needs: First, the various financial needs brought by the construction of the Greater Bay Area, including payment needs in cross-border transportation, cross-border utility payment and various types of daily consumption scenarios. UnionPay mobile payment complements the traditional bankcard payment, allowing retail payment to bring convenience and benefit to the people. Second, the diverse payment needs of Hong Kong and Macau residents who visit Mainland China. Customers need a mobile payment solution that is cross-border interoperable, secure, and offer various discounts and privileges.

As a mobile payment portal jointly developed, operated and maintained by UnionPay and various commercial banks, the “UnionPay” app offers Hong Kong and Macau cardholder payment service with the following four features:

  • It is an open platform, and customers with UnionPay cards issued by Bank of China (Hong Kong) and other 5 local institutions can bind their cards with the app this month. It is expected that the app will support UnionPay cards issued by most local banks in Hong Kong and Macau within this year.
  • Also, it will become an important mobile payment portal for the banking industry. Hong Kong and Macau residents no longer need to download multiple mobile payments and can now use the app to make QR code payment and In-App payment locally and cross-border.
  • Furthermore, the app is accepted in multiple online and offline payment scenarios, covering F&B, accommodation, transportation, shopping, etc.
  • Finally, it integrates special services offered by various banks, and users can enjoy credit card bonus points, utility payment in mainland China and other services.

The launch is announced about two months after the publication of survey results which indicated Hong Kong residents are gradually warming up to the idea of smart payments although worries of data leakage and lack of knowledge about new technologies hamper the wider adoption of novel types of payment.

“AlipayHK Smart Payment Popularity Index”, which comprises the “Retailer Smart Payment Readiness Level” and the “Consumer Smart Payment Acceptance Level”, aims to assess the popularity of smart payment in Hong Kong from the perspectives of both retailers and consumers. The survey, conducted via telephone, covered 428 retailers and 1,049 Hong Kong residents aged between 15 and 64. The interviews were conducted between May and June 2018.

Around 60% of surveyed retailers have not yet provided mobile payment mainly due to “estimated low demand from customers”.

The “Consumer Smart Payment Acceptance Level” has shown a slightly-lower-than-expected reading of 45.5. In terms of age group, citizens aged “25-34” were most receptive to the notion of smart payment (57.1), whereas the “50-64” age group (32.2) was least receptive.

Approximately 30% of the Hong Kong residents surveyed had mobile payment experience while 14% said they planned to adopt mobile payment. The major reason for its usage was “quick transaction” (55% of the respondents pointed out this reason). In contrast, the key obstacles to its wider use include “unfamiliarity with the operation” (68%) and “worries of personal data leakage” (55%).

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