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Press Release 10 December 2021

Code of Banking Practice Updated



(10 December 2021) After a 12-month thorough review, the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) and the DTC Association (DTCA) jointly published today a revised Code of Banking Practice (the Code), which will be effective from 10 December 2021. Authorized Institutions (AI) are expected to take appropriate steps to comply with the revised provisions as quickly as possible.

The latest review aims to ensure equitable access to banking services and effective protection for all customers in the increasingly digital environment for banking in Hong Kong. HKAB and DTCA review the Code from time to time.

Luanne Lim, Chairperson, the Hong Kong Association of Banks, said, "Banking is an essential service to the community. Banks in Hong Kong have always embraced financial inclusion through treating customers fairly regardless of their age, background and health condition. In recent years, technology has played a pivotal role in boosting access to banking services and financial inclusion. Importantly, such improvements would require greater financial literacy education to ensure no customers are disadvantaged. The revised Code of Banking Practice sets out important principles on how banks should strike a balance between the use technology and customer protection. We would like to thank all stakeholders who provided their valuable inputs during the revision."

Major enhancements in the Code include: 

  • Where electronic devices are used in branches or other face-to-face situations to present the terms and conditions, AI should provide customers with alternative means to review the relevant information
  • When digital media or channels are used for promoting banking products and services, AI should consider whether it is appropriate to incorporate images, infographics or other means for conveying necessary information to customers, or include reference to the means by which further information may be obtained
  • Before deciding to modify bank branch services, AI should consider the community's needs for banking services and the impact on customers, in particular the elderly and those with impairments. AI should also implement appropriate measures to minimise the impact on customers
  • If AI are aware of cyber-threats, frauds, scams, bogus marketing and promotional communications and other customer security risks, they should issue warning messages to customers as soon as practicable
  • Upon the application by a customer of a product or service, and prior to the execution of a transaction, AI should allow the customer to review the relevant document(s) before the application or the execution
  • AI which provide the information to customers in a non-paper based format should notify the customers in advance and the customers do not object to it. And, AI should clearly inform customers of the specified timeframe within which the information will be available for download. Under special circumstances, AI should cater for the needs of customers for information to be supplied in a paper-based format
  • Card issuers should provide basic information on the chargeback mechanism of card associations on their websites and principal Internet banking platforms and upon cardholders' requests
  • The relevant frontline staff of card issuers should provide prompt and appropriate assistance to cardholders who dispute or raise chargeback requests. When the results of chargeback requests are available, card issuers should promptly communicate and explain to the cardholders the results
  • For foreign exchange transaction, the statement should show the applicable all-inclusive exchange rate for each transaction, including the handling fees by both the card issuer and the relevant card association
  • For cross-boundaries and local payments, AI should provide customers with information including the total charges to be incurred and whether they will be borne by the remitting customer or the beneficiary when such information is available

 

AI are expected to achieve full compliance with the new provisions as quickly as possible within 6 months of the effective date, with an extension of up to 12 months for provisions requiring more extensive system enhancements.

The Code is available on the websites of HKAB (www.hkab.org.hk) and DTCA (www.dtca.org.hk).

The Hong Kong Association of Banks

The DTC Association


Notes to the Editor:
Jointly issued by HKAB and DTCA, the Code of Banking Practice (the Code) is a non-statutory document. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) expects all Authorized Institutions to comply with the Code and will monitor compliance as part of its regular supervision.

The latest Code was reviewed by HKAB's Code of Banking Practice Committee (CPBC), which includes representatives from HKAB, the DTCA and HKMA. The Consumer Council has been consulted during the review.

The Code is updated from time to time. The previous comprehensive review took place in 2015. The CBPC will continue to adapt and evolve the Code in response to market developments and changes in relevant laws and regulations.

 

 

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