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Visa and MasterCard to help bring Apple Pay mobile payment service to Hong Kong

by June 14, 2016 General

Global payment technology giants Visa and MasterCard will be supporting the much-anticipated rollout of Apple Pay service in Hong Kong this summer, according to Apple.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of this year’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, where the company also announced plans to bring its mobile payment service to websites by the end of this year.

Apple previously announced in October that American Express would bring Apple Pay to eligible customers of the credit card in Hong Kong this year.

The updated Apple Pay page on the Hong Kong Apple website now showed Visa, MasterCard and American Express as the credit card platforms for its mobile payment service.

Users simply add the credit card registered in their iTunes account to the Wallet app in their iPhone. Users can add more credit cards on the iPhone within the Wallet app by tapping the plus sign and following the on-screen instructions.

The introduction of Apple Pay in Hong Kong could give a much-needed boost to the adoption of mobile phone payment systems in the city.

Hong Kong remains behind other markets, especially mainland China, in adopting mobile payment services.

Consumers in the city are used to more familiar payment options, such as Octopus cards. Plenty of merchants are also wary of making new investments in contactless, point-of-sale readers.

Apple uses so-called near-field communications technology built into its iPhones and Apple Watch to allow for contactless payment in stores, which have point-of-sale terminals supporting the mobile payment system.

The service can also be used to pay for purchases made within mobile apps on the iPhone and iPad.

“In Hong Kong contactless payments have become a necessity for everyday life,” said Caroline Ada, Visa country manager for Hong Kong and Macau. “We expect the number of contactless payments to grow even further, driven by Hong Kong consumers’ savviness and willingness to adopt new mobile technology like Apple Pay.”

Both Visa and MasterCard payment services are available in more than 200 countries and territories

According to Apple, the participating banks in Hong Kong include Standard Chartered, DBS, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, Bank of East Asia, American Express and BOC Credit Card, a subsidiary of Bank of China (Hong Kong).

Standard Chartered said Apple Pay would complement the bank’s broader suite of digital banking services.

“We are committed to building an end-to-end digital process for our services and solutions,” said Samir Subberwal, managing director and head of retail banking at Standard Chartered Hong Kong. “Apple Pay enables fast, safe and secure payments through mobile devices within apps and in-store.”

Ken Chew, the managing director of consumer finance and e-business, consumer banking and wealth management at DBS Bank (Hong Kong), said Apple Pay would help the bank “further explore and develop exciting ways to enhance and evolve how millions of people spend and pay everyday”.

The initial retail networks which Apple announced initial support for Apple Pay in Hong Kong includes 7-Eleven, Lane Crawford, Mannings, Pacific Coffee, Pizza Hut, KFC, Sasa, Starbucks, Wellcome, McDonald’s, Maxim’s Cakes and the Apple Store.

Kamill Fung, deputy general manager of BOC Credit Card (International), said users of Apple Pay “will have a more secure way to make purchases”.

When using a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the card numbers are not stored on the device or on Apple’s servers, according to BOC Credit Card.

It said a unique device account number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the device. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code.

Apple Pay is currently available in the United States, Canada, Britain, mainland China, Singapore and Australia.

According to Apple, about 45 per cent of Apple Pay transactions on the mainland have been made within apps as of February.

Earlier this month, Apple was reportedly gaining a million new Apple Pay users a week, but it did not provide the total number of users so far since the service was launched in October 2014.