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Thursday, October 13, 2016, 19:06

Alipay kicks off Hong Kong dollar service

By Lin Wenjie
Alipay kicks off Hong Kong dollar service
A receptionist works at Alipay's headquarters in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, in this Jan 10, 2014 file photo. ( Photo / Xinhua)

HONG KONG - Alipay launched its Hong Kong dollar service on Thursday – three months after competitor Apple Pay – in a bid to seize a share of Hong Kong’s online payment market and reshape people’s payment habits.

Alipay users could pay by Visa or Mastercard through Alipay, which charged users a 1.5 to 3 percent handling fee

Users of China’s third-party online payment platform , under technology giant Alibaba Group, will now have to jump through less hoops to use Alipay. Consumers can now deposit Hong Kong dollars directly into their Alipay account at 7-11 and Circle K convenience stores, so they can make payments online or in stores that accept Alipay.

Alipay users previously needed to convert Hong Kong dollars into Chinese yuan, and then deposit an amount into their mainland-registered bank accounts before loading the money into their Alipay account. Alternatively, they could pay by Visa or Mastercard through Alipay, which charged users a 1.5 to 3 percent handling fee.

Hong Kong users of Alipay have a daily quota of HK$3,000, or HK$25,000 every year for payment services if they don't complete a name authentication process, according to the service’s website. But once the authentication is approved, the quota is lifted to HK$5,000 daily and unlimited annually.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) granted five Stored-Value Facilities (SVF) licenses in August to electronic payment operators Alipay, Octopus, HKT Payment, Money Data, and TNG (Asia). The HKMA said the implementation of SVF licensing would facilitate the introduction and adoption of new retail payment options, and safeguard users.

Apple Pay is not required to apply for a license as the service is linked to credit cards without having to perform any stored value function, said Henry Cheng, executive director of monetary management at the HKMA.

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