I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year festivities.
I would like to kick things off in 2017 with a gift – well one that I have been “wrapping” and observing for the past year since launch.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) launched e-cheques1 in December 2015 in conjunction with Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited (HKICL) as a pilot program. We’ve been steadily reviewing the development of the portal and the applications2 and are comfortable recommending it to our clients (and others) to further streamline payment processing (both incoming and outgoing).
From our experience, the majority of small businesses bank with HSBC who are just one of the 150 participating banks3.
After initial registration via the HKICL portal4, the steps to:
Issue an e-cheque:
- Log in to your internet banking and navigate to e-cheque issuance*
- Type in amount of cheque and Payee
- Download the e-cheque (it exports as a PDF)
- Send the PDF to your Payee (via email, whatsapp)
Deposit an e-cheque:
- Log into HKICL portal or log into your iPhone or Android App
- Upload the PDF
At the very least, I recommend that you look to review and integrate this workflow into your business processes. Additionally, encourage your suppliers to consider accepting this payment method. From my perspective, it has several benefits:
- Eliminates queues in banks to deposit cheques
- Saves time and hassle of handwriting cheques
- Mitigates inter-bank transfer fees
- Transparency on payer/payee details
The steps5 are outlined via an intuitive video per the link below.
It’s not ground breaking technology but within our current banking and payments framework and general unwillingness for small merchants to adopt cashless payments, it is, nevertheless, a move forward for small businesses in Hong Kong.
*For additional control, create a secondary internet banking login for relevant staff member that allows payment queuing not execution which is retained by the business owner (or manager).
2 HKICL iPhone app – https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1028947224 or
HKICL Android App – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hkicl.ecp.mobile
3Participating Banks (over 150): https://www.echeque.hkicl.com.hk/ecp/partBank.jsp?1482127524884&lang=en_US
4 HKICL portal: https://www.echeque.hkicl.com.hk/ecp/
5 How it works: https://www.echeque.hkicl.com.hk/pub/portalSteps_en_US.html