Bank of China Hong Kong is first to allow mobile payments in mainland without a Chinese bank account

  • Hongkongers with the BOC Pay app are now able to top up their e-wallet with funds from any Hong Kong bank account for the first time
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 4:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 10:43pm

Hongkongers will for the first time be able to use their mobile phones to make payments in mainland China without having to hold a bank account there, thanks to a new feature of Bank of China Hong Kong’s e-wallet app.

From Wednesday the lender will allow users to add value to their BOC Pay app using funds from any Hong Kong bank account.

Previously, Hongkongers could make use of mainland Chinese e-wallets such as WeChat Pay or Alipay only if they held a mainland bank account.

BOCHK, one of the largest retail banks in Hong Kong, will enable users of its e-payment app to make fund transfers from any Hong Kong bank account via the Faster Payment System.

The Faster Payment System, introduced by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in September, enables bank customers to transfer money, shop and pay bills by scanning quick response (QR) bar codes.

450,000 Hong Kong bank customers to benefit from instant QR-code-based money transfer system from Sunday

The BOC Pay app was launched in July but until now only allowed fund transfers from credit cards.

Shops in mainland China that subscribe to Union Pay QuickPass Payment will be able to accept BOC Pay.

BOCHK has seen a significant pick-up in mobile payments since the introduction of the Faster Payment System, according to Ann Kung, deputy chief executive of the bank.

“The average age of users is 37 years old, and 80 per cent of payment are below HK$10,000,” said Kung.

“This shows that the younger generation of bank customers likes to use digital payment. The BOC Pay app will make cross-border payments much easier for Hongkongers travelling to the mainland.”

HKMA chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam said previously the de facto central bank has worked with mainland regulators to make it easier for Hongkongers to make payments and use other banking services in China.

BOCHK on Wednesday also set up a branch at the airport, which will open seven days a week to provide better services for travellers.