Hong Kong is now the most recent nation to introduce a 24×7, instant payments system as a fintech upgrade for retail payments in the country.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) – the country’s defacto central bank first made the announcement of the initiative. two weeks ago.
The new platform, Known as the ‘Faster Payment System’ (FPS), operates in real-time at all times, to connect banks and stored-valued facility (SVF) operators, the HKMA said.
More so, 21 banks, majorly retail banks and 10 SVFs participated in the initiative to provide the service to customers immediately.
The platform would make transferring funds in real-time across banks and SFVs participating in the system by using the mobile number or email addresses of the recipient, rather than a bank account number, with added support for QR codes.
The system would support both the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and China’s fiat currency Renminbi (RMB) for settlements.
The HKMA will operate the book of settlement for HKD payments while the Bank of China (Hong Kong) would performs the same role for RMB payments. The Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited will take up the mantle as the entire system’s operator.
To propel adoption, the HKMA also announced the Common QR Code Standard for retail payments with a free mobile app named Hong Kong Common QR Code (HKQR). The app converts multiple QR codes from various payment providers to a single, combined QR code to better facilitate payments among merchants, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the public to accept payments in a single code.
“After the full launch of the FPS on 30 September, Hong Kong will enter a new era of electronic payment as the FPS is a unique retail payment system in the world,” HKMA chief executive Norman Chan said during the ‘Activation Ceremony’ of the service.
He also noted that the service would be free for small-value transfers, adding:
“We can enjoy an instant payment service which is round-the-clock, simple and convenient to use, robust and secure, with full connectivity while supporting both the Hong Kong dollar and the renminbi. It is also free of charge for small-value fund transfer.”
The development is coming at a time when the Hong Kong government is actively attracting Blockchain professionals with friendlier immigration policies, to boost the country’s economy.