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The idea that mobiles phones can potentially replace cash someday in the future is becoming a reality with the rise of mobile payment facilities. Transactions can now be easily completed with a tap of the mobile phone for day-to-day purchases. Thanks to the convenient transfer function of these mobile payment facilities, there is no cash nor change involved when a group of friends split the cost of meal almost effortlessly. Everyday money transactions become much simpler and much more convenient.

Stored value facility (commonly known as electronic wallet or e-wallet) is a general term that refers to a product that can store value and be used for payment of goods and services, and/or for person-to-person funds transfers. The first batch of five licences was granted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in August, with the second batch of licences expected to be announced soon. According to regulations, unless exemption has been granted, it is illegal for any stored value facilities to operate without a licence after 13 November 2016. Nevertheless, a licence is not a necessity for all payment facilities. Facilities without a store value function (such as Apple Pay) or single-purpose stored value payment tools (such as cake vouchers) do not require a licence.

First batch of stored value facilities licences:

Name of licenseese-wallet
Octopus Cards Limited O! ePay
Money Data Limited WeChat Pay
Alipay Financial Services (HK) Limited Alipay
HKT Payment Limited Tap & Go
TNG (Asia) Limited TNG

 

How to use an e-wallet

  1. Download the e-wallet mobile application onto your mobile phone (usually supported in iOS and Android)
  2. Register to use the e-wallet
  3. Add value on the facility at designated merchants (e.g. convenient stores) or add value through a bank account.
  4. To make payments, use the mobile phone to scan the QR code of the merchant or tap the sensor. Alternatively, the e-wallet can be used to directly transfer money to another person's account.

Personal data security

Like some mobile phone applications, e-wallets may request access to your contact list and other stored information such as your mobile phone location. Some service providers only require access to the information while others may capture and store that data. Before downloading any e-wallet, users should read the terms and conditions carefully, in particular the type and purpose of personal data collection. While individual e-wallets do not retain the users' personal information for promotional purpose, however once the users make payment through the e-wallets, some merchants may store the users' personal data. Consumers should consider whether they are willing to trade some of the privacy for the convenience of the e-wallet when they decide to use one.

Safety tips for using e-wallets

  • Only use licensed stored value facilities. Understand the terms and conditions, including the fees, the privacy policy, as well as the rights and responsibilities of users.
  • Do not load too much money onto the e-wallet.
  • Avoid disclosing confidential information.
  • If an e-wallet is connected with a bank account, avoid using an account with a large amount of deposit.
  • Check the transaction records of the e-wallet regularly. Be alert to any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.
  • Change the password of the e-wallet regularly, and avoid repeated use of the same password.
  • Take good care of your mobile phone. In case of loss, report to the service operator to suspend the e-wallet account.
  • Protect your mobile phone. Activate the auto-lock function, install reputable anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware programmes and update them as and when they are released and set up a personal firewall.
  • The technology behind wireless networks relies on radio signals. People nearby may also gain access to your network without your prior approval. Avoid using public networks. Never connect to unknown / unsecured networks when you login to your e-wallet. You can disable any wireless network function (e.g. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC) on your mobile phone when it is not in use.