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Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 16:51

Customers rewarded as banks launch Apple Pay system

By Lin Wenjie

HONG KONG - Hong Kong banks are giving away generous customer bonuses in an attempt to seize market share in the digital payment era, as the much anticipated mobile payment service Apply Pay eventually went live on Wednesday.

The most favorable offer is from DBS. Its credit card users can get as much as 50 percent cash back when paying with Apply Pay in designated shops. In addition, card users of Standard Chartered can enjoy 25 percent cash back when spending with Apple Pay.

The six participating banks in the city are Standard Chartered, DBS, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, Bank of East Asia and Bank of China Credit Card, a subsidiary of Bank of China Hong Kong.

The digital wallet was unveiled by feted US technology company Apple in October 2014. It allows users access to mobile payment services by using models of iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, as well as iPad and Apple Watch.

To get started, users only need to open the Wallet app and tap the plus sign, then follow the onscreen instructions to store credit cards. “It’s very simple, the setup process only took two minutes,” noted Francis Fong Po-kiu, president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation.

When paying in stores, users just need to hold their smart device near the contactless reader with their fingers on Touch ID, thanks to its Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. “The payment is instant and I found it easy to use,” Fong told China Daily in a telephone interview.

According to the introduction page of the Apply Pay website the digital wallet offers a safer way to pay, as users’ card numbers are not stored on the device and the credit card numbers are never sent to merchants. Apple Pay assigns a unique number for each purchase, so the payment stays private and secure.

Fong said that the advantage of using Apple Pay is that people do not need to take lots of credit cards out with them. The disadvantage is that not all retailers have NFC terminals, so Apple Pay can be only used in designated shops.

"For now, Apple Pay still can’t replace traditional credit cards, but I hope that in the next two to three years, with the launch of Samsung Pay or Android Pay in Hong Kong, we can go shopping without bringing our wallets,” Fong added.

Apple Pay currently is accepted in 40 merchants including supermarkets, boutiques, restaurants and hotels. They include 7-Eleven, Mannings, PARKnSHOP, Wellcome, Jasons Food & Living, SaSa and Pizza Hut.

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