The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the government body responsible for the maintenance and development of Hong Kong's financial infrastructure, has announced plans to implement a series of retail payment initiatives, including a first step towards the introduction of an NFC payments platform.
"In the light of the rapidly advancing technologies and growing acceptance of innovative retail payment instruments, concerted effort has been made by the HKMA and the banking industry to review and identify a number of initiatives in relation to the retail payment infrastructure and instruments in Hong Kong," the HKMA explains.
"These initiatives cover enhancements to same-day cross-bank credit transfers, the implementation of an electronic bill presentment and payment system (e-bill system), a study of possible electronic payment instruments which include developing a e-cheque system and formulating an interoperable near field communication (NFC) mobile payment infrastructure, and the development of a legislative framework for stored value facilities and retail payment systems with a view to enhancing consumer protection and the safety and soundness of evolving innovative retail payment products and services."
"The development of retail payment initiatives in Hong Kong involves a three-pronged strategy," explains Peter Pang, deputy chief executive of the HKMA. "First, it envisages the transformation of paper-based and semi-electronic payments such as bill and cheque payments into a fully electronic platform. Second, we will conduct a study of the development of an interoperable NFC mobile payment platform to cater to the emergence of NFC-enabled smartphones. Third, revisions will be made to the existing legislative framework for ensuring the safety and efficiency of the relevant stored value facilities and retail payment systems and services.
"With the support of the banking sector, we are confident that the retail payment infrastructure in Hong Kong will continue to make good progress and enter into a new era of diversified retail payments, thereby reinforcing the position of Hong Kong as an international finance centre."