FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong suspends e-wallet top-ups amidst fraud reports in blow to Smart Banking push

Customers were hit by a combined loss of $180,000.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has suspended auto transfers via the recently launched Faster Payment System to top-up mobile wallets following a number of reported fraud cases, reports South China Morning Post.

The suspension order came after customers were found to have suffered an accumulated loss of $180,000 via the FPS with the incidents coming under the purview of police investigation.

“The HKMA has requested all e-wallets operators to suspend the electronic Direct Debit Authorisation (eDDA) for automatically top-up via the Faster Payment System until they can find way to review the procedure,” a spokeswoman was quoted in SCMP.

Banks and around 10 stored value facilities that will be affected by the order which include Alipay Kong Kong, WeChat Pay Hong Kong, Octopus and HKT’s Tap & Go mobile wallet.

“In response to the request by the HKMA, Octopus Cards has temporarily suspended the O! e Pay eDDA service and is reviewing existing procedures to minimise the risks associated with identity theft,” a spokesman for Octopus told SCMP.

However, e-wallets can still be topped up from credit cards or individual fund transfers.

The move deals a huge blow to Hong Kong's Smart Banking ambitions which earlier unveiled the Faster Payment System to enable instant and free fund transfer across different banks and SVF operators. 

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