Mobile payments

When it comes to mobile wallets Hongkongers love WeChat Pay, but prefer using Apple Pay

Tencent Holdings’ mobile payment app aces the satisfaction charts in Hong Kong, but loses out to Apple Pay in terms of popularity, according to a survey conducted by JD Power  

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2018, 9:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 March, 2018, 10:55am

Hongkongers rated WeChat Pay as the best mobile payment app in terms of satisfaction, but when it comes to popularity it lost out to Apple Pay, a survey showed.

The internet giant Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay topped the satisfaction charts for mobile wallets with 7.7 points out of 10, followed closely by Apple Pay at 7.6 points, according to the 2018 Hong Kong Retail Banking Satisfaction Study by JD Power, a global marketing information services provider, which released the findings on Monday. 

The survey was based on responses from 2,371 retail banking customers in the city and was conducted between November 2017 and January 2018.

While on the surface it seems that Hongkongers love WeChat Pay, only about 8 per cent of the respondents said they actually use the mobile wallet. WeChat Pay had about 768 million users during the recently ended Spring Festival, according to Tencent CEO Pony Ma Huateng.

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Meanwhile, Apple Pay, which has about 127 million users globally, was the most popular mobile wallet in Hong Kong, with about 29 per cent of respondents saying it was their main mobile wallet, followed by Octopus O! ePay at 17 per cent, Android Pay at 16 per cent and 15 per cent using Alibaba Group Holding’s Alipay, the study showed. Alibaba is the owner of the South China Morning Post.

Mobile and electronic payment services in Hong Kong have picked up pace in the past two years, but the city still lags behind China and Singapore, where mobile payment technologies have advanced rapidly during the same period.

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One of the reasons for the slower adoption of mobile payment apps is because the city’s 7 million residents rely heavily on the city’s first payment option, the contactless Octopus card. Launched in 1997, it can be used to pay fares on the city’s transport network of buses, ferries and trams, as well as the MTR. It is also accepted at several merchants as payment for goods and services, including convenience stores and supermarkets. 

Over 2,500 Hong Kong taxi drivers sign up to cashless WeChat Pay and Alipay

The survey also found that 71 per cent of respondents used online banking services via computer in the last 12 months, but only 30 per cent used mobile banking, which is significantly lower than the 78 per cent in mainland China, 43 per cent in Australia, and 41 per cent in Singapore. 

“Self-service channels such as ATMs, online and mobile banking are generating higher satisfaction than the traditional high-touch channels like branches and call centres,” said Anthony Chiam, service industry practice leader at JD Power.