Head to China or Sweden, and you’ll rarely see cash in hand or a transaction made without a mobile phone, smartwatch or by scanning a QR code. Considered the leaders in the smart payment market, China and Sweden have successfully adopted smart payment tech as a standard. In China, you’ll even find street beggars and small food carts won’t take anything but Wechat or Alipay. Your paper money is no good there.
According to a study done in 2018, Hong Kong has some serious catching up to do. Surveys showed that 70% of Hong Kong-ers had never paid for something via their smartphone. Another 50% went on to say they never would. Why? Good old fear of new technology. Many said they were unfamiliar with how to do it and had worries about the potential loss of personal data.
Just for comparison, 98% of China have replaced cash with mobile payment. In Sweden, it’s 60%, whilst Canada is at 12%. For such an innovative city, it’s a big surprise that Hong Kong hasn’t fully embraced digitised payments sooner, and now with rising tensions with China it may be harder even to convince folks to download Alipay or Wechat.
But no fear, Hong Kong does have its own brand of digital wallets. HSBC’s PayMe is a peer to peer payment gateway which can be linked to your HSBC account, Visa or Mastercard. You can easily send money to friends within the app, through Whatsapp, SMS and Facebook Messenger. While you cant use to buy your groceries, it certainly makes splitting the bill after a group dinner far easier.
Octopus has also gone the digital route and seems to be more and more widely used in Hong Kong. With Octopus’s O!epay, you can instantly top up your octopus card via their app, shop online, make online payments as well as make peer to peer payments and scan QR codes to pay merchants.
However, the most popular by far is, of course, Apple Pay. It came to Hong Kong in 2016 and quickly became one of the most popular digital wallets. It certainly helps that iPhone users and Apple fans hold the company in high regard, plus Apple Pay is widely accepted across Hong Kong. With more than 10,000 stores you can shop in, you add 8 different cards to the app from 6 different world banks.
So what’s your verdict? Comment below and tell us if you’re an ‘early adopter’ of mobile payments or if you’re keeping you cash where you can feel it.