Hang Seng Bank, the HSBC-owned Hong Kong lender, is partnering with a number of communications firms to allow its clients to make contactless payments through their smartphones.
Customers with near-field communication-enabled mobile phones will be able to make purchases through their credit card accounts at certain outlets, by waving their phone at MasterCard PayPass reader, said Hang Seng in a statement.
The bank is developing the partnership with PCCW mobile, MasterCard Worldwide, digital security company Gemalto and Samsung Electronics.
An open architecture with a common standard will be used to build the platform, allowing other service providers and interested parties to participate, said Hang Seng.
The move comes as the latest example of Asian banks adding mobile banking to their client offerings as a way of differentiating in an over-crowded market-place. Citi has so far led the way in mobile banking in Asia, having last month passed the 1 million mobile banking client mark. The US bank is now rolling out tablet banking in the region. HSBC also this week updated its mobile banking offering, allowing customers to make credit card transactions by waving their phones at suitably-equipped readers.
Mobile banking is spreading quickly. According to a report last month from research consultancy, Juniper, Mobile banking adoption is expected to reach about 530 million users worldwide by 2013. In addition to North America and Western Europe, the report expects that China and Southeast Asia will have the highest penetration of users.
Meanwhile, a recent study by technology provider Sungard and consultant Scorpio Partnership, revealed that on average, HNW individuals spend 5.3 hours online per week regarding financial matters. When investors predict their usage patterns in five years' time, they expect the largest increase to be their online interaction directly with their financial institution on matters related to their wealth.