Mobile payments

Mobile payment, P2P transfer services are gaining popularity in Hong Kong, survey finds

The Jetco survey found 76 per cent of respondents use mobile payments, while 43 per cent make peer-to-peer transfers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 December, 2016, 8:40pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 7:45pm

Mobile payments and peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer services are gaining traction in Hong Kong, according to a recent Jetco survey which showed three quarters of respondents using the former and almost a half using the latter.

The survey, commissioned by the cash machine operator and carried out by consumer research firm Cimigo, found that 76 per cent of those polled were users of mobile payments, while 43 per cent make P2P transfers. Both services are most popular among users aged between 26 and 35 years of age, according to the survey.

“Today, using mobile payments is more secure than credit cards,” Jetco chief executive Angus Choi said. “A credit card is a piece of plastic, everything is static. But mobile phones have anti-hacking, online fraud detection.

“Going forward, there will be more technology to strengthen the security part of mobile payments.”

Almost 90 per cent of the 502 respondents said that they would choose to use a mobile payment system offered by banks, as consumers perceive it as more secure.

The survey also found that more than 70 per cent of mobile payment users in Hong Kong used the service for settling bills. Fifty-six per cent of users linked their bank accounts or credit cards to a mobile payments system to increase their payment options.

Mobile payments services in Hong Kong include Apple Pay, Android Pay, WeChat Pay, Tap & Go and Jetco Pay. Most of these services were only introduced to Hong Kong this year, making the city's mobile payments market a nascent one compared to mainland China, where more than 450 million users subscribe to mobile payment services like Tencent Holdings' WeChat Wallet and Alipay run by Ant Financial Services Group.

On average, each mobile payment transaction in Hong Kong amounts to about HK$300, as consumers remain cautious of paying for big-ticket items using their smartphones, Choi said.

In Hong Kong, P2P transfer services - which enable cardholders of certain banks to transfer money to other individuals for free - have seen a lower adoption rate than mobile payments, although Choi anticipates much quicker growth in the near future.

When all the banks are on board, and fund transfers can be done across all banks, saturation will be much faster than today
Angus Choi, chief executive, Jetco

More than 50 per cent of survey respondents indicated that they had not used P2P services to transfer money to others. Concerns around using P2P services were mainly to do with security, as well as a lack of interoperability among banks, the survey revealed.

“Not all banks currently offer P2P transfer services, and interoperability is also something we are working on aggressively to have one [unified] platform for P2P transfer services,” Choi said. “The ecosystem isn’t there yet.

“When all the banks are on board, and fund transfers can be done across all banks [via P2P transfer], saturation will be much faster than today.”

He said Jetco is currently working to rally its member banks to join its Jetco Pay platform, so that more users in Hong Kong are able to easily conduct inter-bank transfers via P2P transfer services.

Jetco is also in talks with HSBC and Hang Seng bank to join the platform, although no concrete decisions have yet been made, according to Choi.

P2P transfer platform Jetco Pay currently has four participating banks, China Citic Bank International, Dah Sing Bank, Shanghai Commercial Bank and Wing Lung Bank. Jetco expects to add two more banks in January, with an aim of getting almost all its members on board by the end of 2017, Choi said.