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Hong Kong Bank and Telco Announce Plans for NFC Rollout

One of Hong Kong’s largest banks and a major telco have announced plans to commercially launch NFC payments during the first half of 2013, putting a MasterCard PayPass credit application onto SIM cards issued by PCCW mobile.

Heng Seng Bank, which is majority owned by HSBC Group, said customers would be able to use the service with NFC-enabled phones from Samsung Electronics, among others. Neither the bank nor PCCW mentioned the models that would be available for the service.

Meanwhile, in a separate project, HSBC bank said it launched a Visa payWave credit card service with an iPhone attachment. The first customers registering for the service would be able to use the service for free, though it's unclear if that includes the iPhone attachment. They would be able to make purchases of up to HK$500 (US$64.50) by tapping the phone on payWave point-of-sale terminals. There are reportedly more than 9,000 payWave POS terminals in Hong Kong. It's not clear how many terminals support PayPass in Hong Kong.

HSBC did not say which vendor is supplying the attachment, but NFC Times has confirmed HSBC will use the iCarte from Canada-based Wireless Dynamics. It was unclear whether the iPhone project is a trial or rollout.

Despite active contactless payment programs at the point of sale, such as payWave, PayPass and the Octopus Card transit fare-collection scheme, as well as a high penetration of smartphones, there have been few NFC or other contactless-mobile payment trials to date in Hong Kong.

PCCW mobile noted its announcement of NFC commercial service with Hang Seng Bank was the first of its kind for Hong Kong. The NFC-enabled SIM cards PCCW mobile issues will comply with the single-wire protocol standard, the telco said.

“NFC-enabled mobile phones using SWP-SIM cards will work with a wide range of NFC terminals,” said the telco. “In addition to payment, there are immense possibilities for NFC applications in the future. For instance, consumers can turn a SWP-SIM mobile phone into an electronic wallet to keep e-discount coupons and loyalty card information for instant reward points. Consumers may also receive e-ticketing over the air, or access additional information by tapping onto an NFC tag attached to a product or event promotional poster.”

 

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