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March 28, 2013

Hong Kong announces plans for NFC payments infrastructure

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is forming a working group, under the auspices of the Hong Kong Association of Banks, to create a set of standards for the introduction of NFC payments in Hong Kong.

By Sandra Nielsen

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is forming a working group, under the auspices of the Hong Kong Association of Banks, to create a set of standards for the introduction of NFC payments in Hong Kong.

The working group will use a set of draft standards and guidelines stemming from a new consultancy study that was commissioned by the HKMA in July 2012.

The study aimed to identify the appropriate approach for establishing a safe and effective NFC mobile payment infrastructure that will achieve interoperability among all NFC mobile payment services.

According to the HKMA, this will entail four objectives: the ability to download multiple payment services from different banks and payment service providers onto a single NFC phone; payment service continuity when a consumer switches from one mobile network operator to another; payment service continuity when a consumer changes from one NFC phone to another; and high level of security "in line with international standards and relevant regulatory requirements".

Nineteen stakeholders, including banks and non-bank payment service providers, mobile network operators, card associations, merchant acquirers and handset manufacturers were interviewed for the study, which, according to the HKMA, reaffirmed that Hong Kong is a promising market for the rapid take-off of NFC mobile payments:

"The study confirmed that the market is moving towards a market-driven approach by which certain industry players are expected to implement shared NFC mobile service infrastructures to help participants offer interoperable NFC mobile payment services," HKMA said.

Peter Pang, deputy chief executive of the HKMA, said, "With the growing acceptance of electronic and mobile payment services, Hong Kong is well positioned in grasping the next wave of opportunities offered by the NFC technology. The HKMA will work with the industry to promote a fully interoperable and versatile platform to enable Hong Kong to enter into a new era of diversified retail payments."

The industry working group will be finalising the guidelines and standards for the NFC infrastructure by the second half of 2013.

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