The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today the development of a number of retail payment initiatives in Hong Kong.
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. 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 e-bill system will provide a single consolidated platform for the straight-through processing of electronic bill presentments and payments. The platform will enable merchants to send electronic bills and receive electronic payments from individuals and other merchants. Individuals and merchants will be able to receive, view, manage and schedule payments for their electronic bills through their designated e-banking and/or mobile banking accounts.
Scheduled for launch in the second half of 2013, the initial phase of the implementation will support (i) business-to-customer (B-2-C) e-billing and related e-payments; (ii) business-to-business (B-2-B) e-billing and related e-payments; (iii) cross-border e-billing and related e-payments; and (iv) online charity donation payments and issuance of electronic donation receipts.
To ensure adequate support of cross-border transactions, the e-bill system will cover electronic payments using renminbi and US dollar in addition to Hong Kong dollar, thereby effectively expanding the coverage of cross-border transaction services.
In addition, with effect from 17 September 2012, the bulk settlement runs for same-day cross-bank credit transfers of Hong Kong Dollars and renminbi will be increased from one to three and nil to three in the respective RTGS systems. The bulk settlement runs are scheduled at 10:00 a.m., 3:15 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. each business day. These major enhancements will shorten the clearing and settlement cycle for same-day cross-bank credit transfers. It allows banks to credit good funds to beneficiaries’ bank accounts earlier. More importantly, such services will be extended to cross-bank credit transfers of renminbi retail payments which would otherwise be made through more costly remittance service.
Mr Peter Pang, Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, said, “The HKMA will work with the industry in building a versatile platform for mobile, internet and electronic retail payments in Hong Kong. The development of retail payment initiatives in Hong Kong involves a three-pronged strategy: 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.”
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
4 September 2012