softpos Fintech startup Soepay's SoftPOS turns any NFC-based Android smartphone into a portable card payments terminal – changing the way Hong Kong small businesses will accept contactless payments

Fintech startup Soepay turns any NFC-based Android smartphone into a portable card payments terminal – changing the way Hong Kong SMEs will accept contactless payments. Source: Soepay

Software-only contactless payments arrive for HK SMEs

Since the second half of the 20th century, merchants have had to contend with the specialized hardware to accept plastic card payments. Such hardware, typically known as point of sale (POS) terminals, have started to fall out of favor as the pandemic increased awareness of contact-free payment methods – and just such a payment method was launched last month in Hong Kong, known as SoePay SoftPOS.

SoePay SoftPOS was developed by Hong Kong-based payment solution provider Spectra Technologies Co. Ltd. To be a ubiquitous software-only payment system – a Software Point of Sale, hence SoftPOS – that allows merchants to accept Visa or Mastercard payments on any NFC-enabled, Android-based mobile device.

Enabling card payments but eliminating the need for contact to make payment, the SoePay SoftPOS system is being touted as a possible replacement that could make a significant impact for how Hong Kong small and medium businesses are able to accept payments contact-free, altering the customer experience journey at small businesses.

In a region where mobile internet usage dwarfs the number of bank account holders, a SoftPOS solution like SoePay’s could have significant impact in Southeast Asia, where the movement towards contactless transactions are just beginning to take root. But the urgency has been intensified by the pandemic and the need to reduce contact, making it an ideal entry point for solutions like SoftPOS methods.

SoePay SoftPOS essentially turns mobile devices like smartphones and tablets into payment terminals, allowing smaller businesses to accept secured card payments without the need for any additional hardware costs and ramping up mobile payments acceptance in the island city-state at the same time. Users will just have to tap their NFC-enabled devices against the merchant’s smartphone which has the SoftPOS installed.

Thanks to its partnership with MYPINPAD, the first software and personal authentication solutions provider in the world to be certified to achieve Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards certification for its Android contactless payment system, SoePay SoftPOS is PCI-certified and therefore able to accept card payment from the likes of Mastercard and Visa, both of which are SoePay partners.

“The Mastercard ‘Sonic’ feature is also applied to SoePay, which accompanies payments with a sound that indicates cardholders’ successfully made payment,” said Helena Chen, Mastercard managing director for Hong Kong and Macau. “The new partnership is in line with Mastercard’s ongoing commitment to promote contactless payment across the city and to support local SMEs’ future development through digitalization.”

Maaike Steinebach, the GM of Visa Hong Kong and Macau, was similarly excited to partner with SoePay to enable off-the-shelf ‘Tap to Phone’ mobile devices to accept contactless payments without additional hardware in Hong Kong, saying, “More than seven in ten of all face-to-face Visa transactions are contactless. This new low-cost and simple solution will help micro, small and medium-sized businesses stay competitive on their digital transformation journeys.”