18 February 2019

BOCHK sets sights on mobile bank account payments

BOC Hong Kong (Holdings) Ltd. (02388.HK) expects to be able to launch smartphone services for bank accounts in the future but the rollout will depend on the response of its clients, a top manager said on Tuesday as the company unveiled its mobile credit card payment app.

BOCHK’s new mobile service lets users make payments by inserting a device into the headphone jack of any smartphone. But each transaction is capped at HK$1,000 (US$128) and the service won’t be launched until November.

“We might also launch mobile services through bank accounts, but it depends whether the clients are comfortable doing this,” Dickson So, general manager of BOC Credit Card (International) Ltd., said.

“Small consumer payments [via the credit card app] are only one of our mobile wallet functions.”

So said plans were also afoot to launch a quick response (QR) code function, which “will allow the bank to play to its strength of providing services for bigger spending.” 

He added that parent company Bank of China Ltd. (BOC, 03988.HK, 601988.CN) is working on new products in similar areas. BOC launched a pilot near-field communication mobile payment product with China UnionPay and China Mobile Ltd. (00941.HK), according to a statement on BOC’s website on June 14. The statement did not offer details.

The services unveiled on Tuesday will be offered to the bank’s i-card users as part of a trial program with MasterCard Worldwide. Users will be able to access them through Android phones with SD cards, for an annual HK$100 fee, which will be waived for the first two years.

Visa and UnionPay cardholders and iPhone users would be able to tap into the services by the end of this year.

Similar services offered by rivals HSBC Holdings Plc. (00005.HK) are only available on the iPhone while Hang Seng Bank Ltd. (00011.HK) requires an Android smartphone and PCCW’s mobile network to access its offering. HSBC’s partner is Visa and Hang Seng’s is MasterCard.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]



Ayishah Ma is a financial reporter on Greater China issues.

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