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Financial Secretary


Spend smart and enjoy the concessions

Since the disbursement of the first batch of the consumption voucher last Sunday, our city has been immersed in a long-awaited cheerful atmosphere. Over the past week, we have seen more people going to restaurants and shopping malls. Many people shared with me that the consumption voucher has put them in a good mood and created the festive atmosphere in the society. Given these feedbacks from the community, the Consumption Voucher Scheme (the Scheme) has achieved its first goal, i.e. benefitting the general public.

During my recent visits to different malls and shops, their staff told me that the disbursement of the voucher has driven up the number of customers and the amount of their spending. People were more eager to spend, while some even spent their own money on top of the voucher, giving a boost to the merchants’ businesses. Overall speaking, we have seen a positive result in the second goal of the Scheme, i.e. boosting the economy and supporting the employment.

No matter using the voucher or not, we should always spend smartly. It is also important to compare the products and prices, and check the receipts when you buy.

The third goal of the Scheme is to promote the wider application and development of e-payment, so as to pave the way for the digital transformation of Hong Kong’s economy. With the Consumption Voucher Scheme, Government’s Subsidy Scheme for Promotion of Contactless Payment, as well as the concessions offered by stored value facilities (SVFs) operators, the number of consumer accounts of the four SVFs and the number of merchants accepting e-payment have increased by over 2.2 million and more than 48 000 respectively by end of July, i.e. just before the voucher disbursement. Most of the electronic payment transactions have been conducted smoothly since the disbursement of the voucher. We can see that both the consumers and merchants are happy with the e-payment process.

The Scheme allows people to choose the SVFs that best suited their needs, which has promoted the competition among different payment platforms and provided a broad market base for e-payment to grow. It is our hope that the SVF operators will continue to lower their fees and improve their service quality in order to attract more customers, enabling a robust and continuous development of e-payment in Hong Kong. Online shopping and e-payment are the future trend of retail development and a must-have element for the merchants to attract consumers. For the merchants who have yet adopted e-payment, it would be good for them to grasp this opportunity to install e-payment devices in order to ride on the consuming spree induced by the Scheme in the coming few months.

Nonetheless, for any new measure or service, it is usual to see hiccups at the beginning. Over the past one week, a small number of transactions have faced problems in payment or handling, which has already drawn the attention of the Consumer Council. In fact, no matter using the voucher or not, we should always spend smartly, pay attention to the terms and conditions of the concessions offered by merchants, and make choice according to our own personal needs. As a smart consumer, it is also important to compare the products and prices, and check the receipts when you buy.

The consumption voucher covers a wide range of uses, and e-payment has become more common nowadays. These not only facilitate the consumers to enjoy easier and more convenient shopping and payment experience, but also enhance the transaction efficiency and speed, cut down the transaction cost and enable greater flexibility. Most of you may have already noticed that there is no minimum spending requirement when using the consumption voucher for buying products or services. No extra charge is also allowed. No matter you are using the voucher or e-payment method to foot the bill, you should remember the following three steps: check the price, check your payment, and check the receipt.

Hong Kong people are smart consumers. Given the market competition and the forces driven by consumers’ choice, consumers and merchants both will continue to be benefitted from the Scheme.

The registration for the Scheme will close by this Saturday (14 August). Please act quick to register if you have not yet done so. Let us spend together to boost the economy and spend smart to enjoy the concessions.

August 8, 2021

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