HKMA to collect data on use of UnionPay cards

Updated 2017-08-08 10:55:42 Global Times

HK studies feasibility of facial recognition

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is committed to improving the overall security level of the banking system, through efforts including working on various technologies related to the banking business, a HKMA media manager told the Global Times.

The HKMA is reported to have recently issued a notification to local banks asking them to collect data on ATM cash withdrawals from UnionPay cards in the first half of the year, domestic news site said on Monday.

The HKMA confirmed to the Global Times they are looking into different forms of biometric technologies such as facial recognition. The organization is also verifying the feasibility and liability as well as cost and effectiveness of these technologies. In addition, the HKMA keeps track of technology being used in other regions.

The HKMA communicates with local banks on different subjects regarding control and monitoring work, the HKMA said. "There's no plan yet to fully deploy facial recognition technology to ATMs in Hong Kong," the HKMA said.

By the end of 2016, there were 3,300 ATMs in Hong Kong, the report said, noting that this is the first time that the HKMA will collect data on cumulative cash withdrawal amounts.

"I reckon the requirement of the HKMA is likely for the purpose of gathering data of tourist flows from the Chinese mainland and their frequency of withdrawing cash, based on which the authorities can learn some patterns," Dong

Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Monday.

"Irrational outbound investment has been contained effectively this year, a big overturn from the 2014-16 period when the growth rate of capital exports exceeded 50 percent year-on-year, a frantic increase," Dong said.

China's non-financial outbound direct investment dropped 42.9 percent year-on-year to 331.1 billion yuan (.23 billion) in the first half of 2017, official data showed.

"The tightening regulation does not mean a backward trend against the background of more financial and economic integration globally," Dong stressed, noting that normal capital export practices such as transnational acquisitions for the good of the real economy are allowed.

But illegal practices such as asset transfers and fraudulent practices in the guise of transnational acquisitions should be stopped, Dong noted.

Chinese regulators have stepped up efforts on the governance of bank cards overseas in recent years. For example, in June, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said that China's banks will be asked to report on a daily basis their bank card holders' withdrawals in overseas countries and regions starting from September 1, as well as any bank transactions exceeding 1,000 yuan.

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