HK, Thailand commence cross-border QR payment linkage


Starting Monday, Hong Kong residents can make payments capped at HK$10,000 ($1,280) per day in Thailand by scanning their digital wallets with Thailand’s PromptPay, as Hong Kong and Thailand have set up a cross-border QR payment linkage between Hong Kong’s Faster Payment System (FPS) and Thailand’s PromptPay.

Thai tourists can also pay at shops in Hong Kong when they scan their digital wallets with FPS.

Seven banks and two stored value facility (SVF) operators in Hong Kong are taking part in the program to support users to scan cross-border QR codes. These banks include Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China (Hong Kong), Bank of Communications (Hong Kong), Bank of East Asia, Citibank (Hong Kong) and Fubon Bank (Hong Kong). HSBC and Bangkok Bank are the two settlement banks.

“Thailand has extensive experience in cross-border linkages of faster payment systems, and the county is among the most popular tourist destinations for Hong Kong people so we choose this country to start the cross-border QR payment linkage program,” Hong Kong Monetary Authority Deputy Chief Executive Howard Lee

Tat-chi said in Thursday’s news conference.

“Cross-border QR payment adds another convenient and easy-to-use instrument for making small amount payments abroad, as there is an international trend of increasing use of faster payment systems for cross-border payment,” he said.

Lee added that Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have similar faster payment systems, and HKMA will explore whether similar cross-border QR payment linkage can be forged with these systems. “We will first complete payment interoperability with Thailand and then review whether it will cooperate with other countries.”

The daily transaction limit will be capped at HK$10,000. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority believes this amount can satisfy the need in different scenarios, but it will consult with stakeholders, based on cybersecurity principles, to gauge whether there is any need to raise the limit in the future.

Hong Kong merchants will not incur any fees or charges when they join the program, while Hong Kong users will have to pay foreign exchange costs and handling fees when using the service. These fees will be priced when participating banks or SVF operators quote the exchange rate to Hong Kong customers.

Colin Pou, executive director (financial infrastructure) at HKMA, said participating banks and SVF providers will offer “competitive” exchange rates to customers, but he did not specify what the quoted exchange rate level would be compared to foreign exchange outlets.   

If Hong Kong residents want to use the service, Pou advised them to update participating banks’ mobile app versions, identify the PromptPay code, and always verify payment details before making a payment. Potential users should not click on any embedded links when using the service.

Launched in 2018, Hong Kong’s FPS had 13 million registered users as of September, with the average number of transactions per day reaching 1.3 million, and the average transaction value per day totalling HK$9.4 billion, according to HKMA figures.

Oswald Chan

China Daily

Asia News Network