More government services can soon be paid online

January 28, 2021 09:54
Photo: HKMA

Oftentimes, crisis is the best agent to trigger changes, which would otherwise take much longer to happen.

As more people go online to shop or order food through apps amid the pandemic, the government is also doing its part to let people run more errands online by widening the acceptance of online payments through the Faster Payment System (FPS).

Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui told lawmakers Wednesday that the initiative is expected to be rolled out by phases in 2022. At least seven departments have started preparatory work. Numerous other departments will also explore the possibility of extending FPS payment to their bills.

Various services frequently used by the public, such as applications for licences and certificates, booking and registration of services will be covered.

The Government started accepting bill payment via FPS QR codes in November 2019. Currently, bills issued by the Inland Revenue Department, the Rating & Valuation Department and the Water Supplies Department, as well as general demand notes issued by the Government are already printed with FPS QR codes to provide the additional payment option.

Given the merit of contactless payment in reducing the virus transmission risk, the Government launched a scheme in October last year to provide subsidy to tenants of market stalls at a flat rate of $5,000 for each stall.

The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has so far received over 3,500 applications since the scheme's launch. Hui said the government will step up promotion efforts to encourage more stalls to join.

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