New payment system connects banks and stored-value facility operators to enable instant payments in Hong Kong dollar and renminbi.
The HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) has launched the FPS (Faster Payment System), one of the seven Smart Banking initiatives it announced in September 2017.
The FPS connects banks and SVF (stored-value facility) operators within the same platform. It operates around-the-clock to enable users to transfer Hong Kong dollar and renminbi payments across different banks or SVFs almost immediately, for free, using a mobile number or email address as an account proxy for the payee.
Currently, interbank transfers in Hong Kong can take two or three days and cost up to as HKD 200 (USD 25.50).
“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,” said HKMA chief Norman Chan. “It makes retail fund transfers and payments much quicker and easier.”
According to Chan, the launch of the FPS signifies a new era for the payment system, which forms “the core part” of the Hong Kong’s financial infrastructure: “While it will bring new opportunities to the retail payment industry, it will also promote innovation in financial technology, providing greater convenience and new experience to the public.”
Starting from Monday 17 September, the public can register their mobile phone number or email address with the FPS as an account proxy for receiving funds, via the mobile apps of participating banks and SVFs. The public can start making transfers or receiving funds using the FPS starting from 30 September.
Currently, 21 banks (including most retail banks) and 10 SVFs in Hong Kong are participating in the launch. Included in the launch are Alipay and WeChat Pay, whose users will be able to transfer funds across the two platforms for the first time. The full list of participating banks and SVFs is available here.
The FPS is subject to HKMA oversight under the PSSVFO (Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance), which provides statutory backing for transaction settlement finality by protecting it from insolvency and any other laws.
The HKMA has simultaneously announced a common QR code standard for retail payments in Hong Kong, releasing a free mobile app known as HKQR (Hong Kong Common QR Code). The app functions to convert multiple QR codes from different payment service providers into a single QR code, preventing merchants from having to display multiple QR codes to customers to receive payment.
The MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) on the same day announced the launch of SGQR (Singapore Quick Response Code), which over the next six months also seeks to combine multiple payment QR codes into a single SGQR label at merchants.
More information on the HKMA’s FPS and Common QR Code can be found here.