Faster payment system launched in September

Faster payment system launched in September

Source: The Standard 

7 Mar 2018


The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said a faster payment system will be launched in September this year across 20 banks and eight e-payment operators.


The de facto central bank's announcement indicates the development of the new payment scheme is nearing completion.


Both banks and stored value facilities operators can participate in the system, which supports the use of mobile phone numbers or email addresses for payments in Hong Kong dollar and renminbi anytime and anywhere.


Internal testing and cross-bank testing will be conducted in the coming months, said HKMA deputy chief executive Howard Lee Tat-chi.


The faster payment system is one of HKMA's seven initiatives to introduce a range of financial technologies in the new era of smart banking.

As of last month, HKMA's Fintech Supervisory Sandbox scheme had tested 29 new technology products. HKMA launched the scheme in September 2016 that allows banks and their partner technology firms to conduct pilot trials of their financial technology initiatives.


The Fintech Supervisory Sandbox scheme involved a limited number of participating customers without needing to achieve full compliance with HKMA's supervisory requirements.


Out of the 29 cases, 19 pilot trials have been completed, and the products have subsequently been rolled out.


The arrangement enabled banks and tech firms to gather data and users feedback which allowed lenders to make refinements to their new initiatives. The process enabled banks to expedite the launch of new technology products, and reduce the development cost. HKMA also published guidelines on the authorization of virtual banks for public consultation until March 15. It said a number of local and overseas firms have expressed interest to set up virtual banks in Hong Kong.


Some of the guidelines bar virtual banks from imposing "any minimum account balance requirement or low-balance fees on their customers."


The guidelines will also subject virtual banks to "the same set of supervisory principles and key requirements applicable to conventional banks."


The HKMA has also set up a task force for its Banking Made Easy initiative that will work with the banking industry to minimize regulatory frictions in customers' digital experience, including remote onboarding, online finance and online wealth management.


The de facto central bank is also looking at relaxing lenders' requirements for online loan applications so customers won't need to provide address and income proof.