Hong Kong picks four e-payment operators to distribute $5000 consumption voucher, ready to launch in summer

The government rolled out a $5000 digital consumption voucher scheme in order to boost local spending and accelerate economic recovery. Hong Kong permanent residents and new arrivals aged 18 or above are expected to register for the scheme during the summer holiday to further stimulate citizen’s consumption emotion. 

The four selected Stored Value Facility (SVF) operators cover a network of 30,000 to 100,000 merchants in the local retail, food and beverage, and service industries, according to a government’s statement. Service providers are going to offer different kinds of discounts, such as waving administrative fees, to merchants and consumers so as to attract more users. 

Here’s what you need to know about the four selected service providers, namely AlipayHK, Octopus, Tap and Go, and WeChat Pay HK. Check them out below:

  • AlipayHK

AlipayHK now possesses 2.7 million daily active users (DAU) and a hundred thousand merchants in Hong Kong. A spokesperson for AlipayHK said they will give back to merchants or users in different ways the extra revenue earned from the scheme. Interested merchants can apply for the “Merchant Code” for free, and designated merchants can receive a reduction or exemption of transaction fees from now until the end of the effective period of the voucher.

A ticket vending machine at an MTR station in Hong Kong accepts AlipayHK and WeChat Pay HK

  • Octopus

Octopus is the largest SVF operator in Hong Kong, which has over 36 million Octopus cards and products in circulation. It holds 15 million transactions a day which is valued at $220 million Hong Kong dollars, penetrating 98% of Hong Kong people aged 15-64. There are more than 62,000 retail outlets accepting Octopus payments in Hong Kong. 

Octopus will waive the setup costs or rental fee of the relevant devices for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Octopus App for Business users will receive a free Octopus Mobile POS and enjoy a waiver of the transfer fee till the completion of the Scheme. A spokesperson for Octopus said they will rebate the extra income from the scheme to users or merchants through various means, details of which to be announced.

Announced yesterday, users will be able to increase the stored-value quota on their Octopus cards to HK$3,000 at selected retailers and transport subsidy collection units from April 29, so as to receive the voucher via Octopus. Rita Li, sales and marketing director of Octopus, said “We propose to the government that citizens can use channels like Octopus Service Points, transport subsidy collection devices or some designated retailers to collect vouchers.”

Citizens can extend the stored-value limit of their Octopus cards to HK$3,000 at Octopus Service Points later this month

  • Tap and Go

Tap and Go is Hong Kong’s first-ever mobile wallet to combine Mastercard and UnionPay card payments that can be downloaded and activated on smartphones. Citizens can shop at over 100,000 physical merchants in Hong Kong that accept Mastercard contactless payment, and at over 100,000 local points of sale and online platforms that accept UnionPay QuickPass or UnionPay QR code payment. They said in a release that Tap & Go QR code transaction and installation fee, and SmartPOS device rental fee will be waived. Mastercard and UnionPay transaction fee will also be reduced for new applicants.

  • WeChat Pay HK

WeChat Pay HK owns 3.8 million registered users and about ninety thousand merchants in Hong Kong. It also plans to rebate additional income and offer further discounts to users and merchants. 

The digital consumption voucher scheme is one of the relief measures for the public announced in the 2021-22 budget (PHOTO/gov.hk)

On the other hand, the well-received PayMe was not selected as one of the electronic payment service providers. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the government took “a basket of factors” into consideration when choosing the providers. “Including the popularity, ease of use, and coverage of merchants of the SVFs, the operator’s relevant experience and supporting facilities, the preparation time required, etc,” he said.

Legislative councilor Michael Tien stated that the vouchers will be distributed two times, $2,500 Hong Kong dollars each. Citizens can then get their remaining vouchers 2 months after their first reception. More detailed arrangements to be announced by the government in due course.

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