Shop cash-free by using phone app

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 June, 2012, 12:00am


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Hong Kong's first mobile wallet system is now operational, allowing shoppers with smartphones to spend without using physical cash at shops.

In the near future, they could also pay for their taxi rides using that.

Once the smartphone app, a software application called nova.m, is activated, users' bank and credit card accounts can be linked to their smartphones.

They can then shop online and in real life, says ASAP Transaction Processing, the system's operator.

For real-world shopping, a 'near field' communication tag attached to smartphones - provided to users in selected shopping outlets - will allow shoppers to select the funding sources to activate on their phones.

'Near field' refers to a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by bringing them into close proximity.

'It replaces the swipe of credit cards,' said Ajmal Samuel, president and chief executive of ASAP.

'The difference is [that] it gives you access to many funding sources, not just one credit card.'

ASAP is in talks with Octopus, a card payment system operator, for the technology to be included as a funding source for shopping and for use in taxis.

With regards to security, ASAP uses cloud computing technology to store users' personal banking information. For their part, users could safeguard their personal data by not losing their phones, Samuel said.

If users lose their smartphones, the mobile wallet system could be deactivated by calling ASAP's office, Samuel said.