HKMA launches faster payment system (FPS)
On September 17, The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the launch of the Faster Payment System (FPS).
The FPS is one of the seven initiatives announced by the HKMA for preparing Hong Kong to move into a new era of Smart Banking. The FPS operates on a round-the-clock basis and connects banks and stored-value facility (SVF) operators on the same platform. It enables the public to transfer funds anytime, anywhere, across different banks or SVFs with funds available almost immediately.
Fund transfers will become very user-friendly with the use of mobile numbers or email address as the account proxy for the payee. In addition to the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), the FPS also supports Renminbi (RMB) payments.
The public can make use of the mobile app of participating banks and SVFs to register their mobile phone number or email address with the FPS as an account proxy for receiving funds. The public can make transfers or receive funds using the FPS from September 30. A total of 21 banks (including most retail banks) and 10 SVFs in Hong Kong have participated in the system to provide FPS services for their customers at the time of launch.
The HKD FPS and RMB FPS are subject to the HKMA’s oversight under the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance (PSSVFO). The PSSVFO also provides statutory backing to the finality of settlement for transactions made through the HKD FPS and RMB FPS by protecting the settlement finality from insolvency laws or any other laws.
The HKMA also announced the Common QR Code Standard for Retail Payments in Hong Kong together with the launch of an associated mobile application tool. A free mobile application tool, “Hong Kong Common QR Code” (HKQR), was released on September 17, (2018). This can be used for converting multiple QR codes from different payment service providers into a single, combined QR code. It would facilitate merchants, especially small and medium enterprises, in using a single QR code to accept different payment schemes.The HKQR mobile application is available for download from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Mr Norman Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA, said, “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. It makes retail fund transfers and payments much quicker and easier. The launch of the FPS signifies the payment system, which forms the core part of the Hong Kong’s financial infrastructure, will enter into a new era. 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.”