Visa targets smartphone payments in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 4:16am

Global payments technology giant Visa plans to step up development in Hong Kong of a mobile payments infrastructure that is supported by a wide range of smartphones.

The company, with a global payments processing network capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, has certified about 40 different smartphone models from suppliers that include Samsung Electronics, HTC, LG Electronics, Nokia, Sony Mobile, and Research In Motion as ready for its mobile payments setup.

Tom Tobin, Visa's country manager in Hong Kong and Macau, said those devices all support the technology called near-field communications, which can turn a mobile phone into a payments device, and Visa's payWave contactless payment application.

The use of payWave-enabled Visa credit cards in Hong Kong "has reached critical mass", which would allow the introduction of an additional convenient payment system, Tobin said yesterday.

There are now one million payWave-enabled credit cards in Hong Kong, a milestone that made the city Visa's "fastest-growing market" in terms of adopting the technology, Tobin said.

Users need only wave their credit cards in front of a Visa payWave car reader at a store to complete their transaction.

There are now 9,000 payWave card readers installed in more than 3,400 merchant outlets, including convenience stores.

Mike Middlemas, Visa's regional director for mobile payment technology for the Asia-Pacific, said the company is in talks with banks to support smartphone payments.

Banks with payWave-enabled cards include Hang Seng, Dah Sing, Aeon, DBS, Wing Lung and BOC Credit Card (International).