E-payment update long overdue in Hong Kong to boost competitiveness

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 August, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 August, 2017, 9:44pm

I agree with your columnist Alex Lo (“On e-payment, Hong Kong must catch up with rest of the world”, August 15).

The e-payment system in Hong Kong is dominated by the Octopus card. When it was introduced to Hong Kong 20 years ago, it showed the world how innovative Hong Kong could be compared with many other cities. But now our e-payment process lags many countries, and an over-reliance on the Octopus card threatens the city’s development.

The e-payment system here has not moved forward since Octopus was introduced and now countries around the world are feverishly developing e-payment systems for their citizens. Hong Kong’s superiority on e-payment no longer exists.

We should be looking beyond the Octopus card, trying to move forward and developing other methods of e-payment.

We should be looking at and learning from the e-payment systems offered in countries.

The methods by which you can make e-payments has become more diverse elsewhere, with innovations centred on mobile phones and scanners. It is not not just Asian neighbours such as South Korea which are using systems such as e-wallets but Scandinavia is at the forefront of streamlining payments for customers.

The concept of mobile money wallets works well because most people now have a phone and carry it everywhere. They don’t need to take along a card when they go shopping.

I suggest that Hong Kong can use this concept but also add a fingerprint identification system which would offer a unique level of convenience. No need to pull out your phone, or maybe you don't have one. Everyone has a fingerprint and you would just need to place your finger on a sensor.

Hong Kong needs to change up a gear and develop its e-payment processes. The Octopus is no longer cutting edge – the city’s competitiveness is at stake.

Eva Chow, Tseung Kwan O