Hong Kong subway riders will soon use QR payments

QR payments - Hong Kong Subway

Commuters will be able to scan a barcode to pay their fare for using the public transportation.

The Hong Kong subway system will soon allow riders to use QR payments to pay their fare. This use of QR code scans as a form of ticketing is rising in popularity all over the world.

The Hong Kong subway system’s mobile payments are a part of a new deal with Ant Financial.

The deal between the subway system and Ant Financial – Alibaba’s payment affiliate – was first announced last week. As a component of the new partnership, scan to pay services including the QR payments will become available at 91 MTR metro stations starting midway through 2020. To use the QR codes, commuters will use the Alipay app. Through that mobile payments app, they will be able to scan a quick response code at the entry turnstile.

They can top up their balances whenever they want, still by way of the Alipay app. This can be accomplished the same way money is added to the app for other purposes. They can also top up their account in the traditional ways they have always used.

The goal of the QR payments is to reduce wait times and costs associated with fare ticketing.

It is unclear as to whether or not the QR codes will one day be extended to the MTR’s other transportation methods such as buses and rails. At the moment, MTR’s announcement is for subway fare mobile payments exclusively.

Ant Financial operates its financial service by way of a joint venture called APSHK with the Hutchison telecom company.

Hong Kong commuters are already able to use the Octopus card system to make cashless payments for subway and other public transit rides. Octopus currently has 35 million active cards circulating in Hong Kong. Reports state that about 99 percent of the population is covered by those cashless payment cards.

That said, the QR payments version of cashless transactions may have a different sort of appeal. Alipay’s version QR payments - Hong Kong Subwaymakes it possible for people to use their phones to pay for fares even in locations where internet connections are unreliable or slow. Moreover, any Alipay customers can use them, which means that it will make the transactions available to visitors from mainland China and other countries who don’t have an Octopus card.

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