Hong Kong govt backs market-driven approach to NFC m-payments infrastructure

Source: Hong Kong Monetary Authority

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today the findings and recommendations of the consultancy study on the development of Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment infrastructure in Hong Kong.

The objective of the study is to identify the appropriate approach for establishing a safe and effective NFC mobile payment infrastructure that will achieve interoperability among all NFC mobile payment services along four development objectives:

  • ability to download multiple payment services from different banks and payment service providers onto a single NFC-enabled phone
  • payment service continuity despite switching from one mobile network operator to another operator
  • payment service continuity despite changing one's NFC-enabled phone
  • high level of security in line with international standards and relevant regulatory requirements

The study reaffirmed Hong Kong's promising market conditions for the rapid take off of NFC mobile payment services with its strong consumer acceptance of contactless payments, high smartphone penetration and increasing availability of NFC-enabled phones.

The study confirmed that the market is moving towards a market-driven approach by which certain industry players are expected to implement shared NFC mobile service infrastructures to help participants offer interoperable NFC mobile payment services. The HKMA agreed with the analysis and will continue to monitor developments in the market to facilitate relevant infrastructure developments and to ensure that the interoperability principles can be achieved.

As part of the study, the HKMA's consultant has produced a draft set of standards and guidelines covering three aspects: (i) interoperability requirements between devices and systems; (ii) operation guidelines of NFC mobile payment services; and (iii) security measures on mobile wallet protection and payment transaction processing. An industry working group will be formed under the Hong Kong Association of Banks with a view to discussing and finalising the guidelines and standards by the second half of 2013.

Peter Pang, Deputy Chief Executive of the HKe HKMA, said, "With the growing acceptance of electronic and mobile payment services, Hong Kong is well positioned in grasping the next wave of opportunities offered by the NFC technology. The HKMA will work with the industry to promote a fully interoperable and versatile platform to enable Hong Kong to enter into a new era of diversified retail payments."

The HKMA appointed a consultant to conduct the study analysing the development of NFC mobile payment markets in Hong Kong and the world in July 2012. 19 stakeholders including banks and non-bank payment service providers, mobile network operators, card associations, merchant acquirers and handset manufacturers were selected for the interviews and providing feedback on a survey during the process. 

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