Bank of East Asia joins the mobile payments race as traditional lenders challenge tech firms
Bank of East Asia has become the latest lender to join the mobile payments fray in Hong Kong with the launch on Monday of the first all-in-one electronic payment platform for merchants.
At present, restaurants and shops that accept credit cards and other forms of mobile payment have to install different devices to process each type of transaction.
BEA is launching a consolidated platform called the i-Payment hub which allows the merchant to use a single device to accept all credit cards and electronic payments such as WeChat Pay, Alipay, Apple Pay, Google Pay and JETCO Pay.
“The single platform and device will bring in greater convenience for merchants to cater for the needs of the increasingly tech-savvy younger customers who like to make payments via their smartphone.” said Vincent Hui, general manager and head of the personal banking division of BEA.
“The BEA i-Payment hub helps merchants to process different types of payment in a single device. It also helps them achieve faster payments and record-keeping,” he said.
BEA is the latest local lender to enter the fiercely competitive mobile payments market. HSBC, the largest lender in Hong Kong and Europe, in June increased the top-up limit on its e-payment app, PayMe, by 10 times to HK$50,000 and teamed up with e-commerce platform HKTVmall to allow customers to use PayMe to shop online.
Traditional banks are moving into digital payment services in the face of stiff competition from technology firms. Octopus, Alipay, WeChat Pay and Apple Pay are commonly used to make purchases at supermarkets, shops and restaurants as well as paying taxi fares.
Gordon Tsui Luen-on, the managing director of brokerage Hantec Pacific, said traditional banks need to step up their financial technology offerings to fend off the challenge from new players.
“The young generation of customers like to use mobile phone to do everything. The traditional banks have no choice but to increase their mobile payment and internet banking facilities. If they can’t meet the demands of customers, they will see their customers shifting to the new e-payment operators," Tsui said.
The King Parrot Group, a restaurant operator whose brands include King Ludwig German Restaurant, El Cid and Ocean Rock, is among the first merchants to sign up to the BEA i-Payment platform.
“I believe the consolidated platform will allow customers to settle their bill much faster,” said Keith Chow, director of marketing and business development of King Parrot.
Chow said more than 70 per cent of all payments at the group’s restaurants are made by credit card, 20 per cent by cash, and a small number by other forms of electronic payment.
“I believe mobile payments will increase in future and less people will be using cash to pay their bill.
“My only worry is that customers may not give tips to our staff after shifting to electronic payments, “ he said.