Hong Kong has joined the faster payments club, launching a system that lets users send money nearly instantly to recipients using a mobile number or email address as an account proxy.
First announced by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) last September as part of a seven part 'smart banking' initiative, the Faster Payment System (FPS) is now, on time, launching.
The FPS operates on a round-the-clock basis and connects banks and stored-value facility (SVF) operators on the same platform. Users can transfer money - both in Hong Kong dollars and Renminbi - anytime, anywhere, across different banks or SVFs with funds available almost immediately.
People can now use their bank and SVF mobile apps to register their phone number or email address for the service and will be able to start making and receiving payments on 30 September.
So far, 21 banks - including Bank of China, DBS, HSBC and OCBC - and another 10 SVFs - including Alipay and Octopus - are signed up for the service.
Meanwhile, the HKMA has introduced a common QR code standard and launched an associated mobile application tool. Similar to the recently launched Singapore effort, this will convert QR codes from different providers into a single QR code, making it easier for merchants to accept the payment method.
Norman Chan, chief executive, HKMA, says: "The FPS is a unique platform as it supports instant payments in the HKD and the RMB with the use of mobile phone numbers, email addresses or QR codes, and achieves full connectivity among banks and SVF accounts.
"It makes retail fund transfers and payments much quicker and easier. The launch of the FPS signifies the payment system, which forms the core part of the Hong Kong’s financial infrastructure, will enter into a new era."