An e-bill system will be launched in the first half of 2013 to enhance Hong Kong's retail payment infrastructure, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced Tuesday. The e-bill system will provide a single consolidated platform for the straight-through processing of electronic bill presentments and payments. Merchants will be able to send electronic bills and receive electronic payments from individuals and other merchants. Individuals and merchants will be able to receive, view, manage and schedule payments for their e-bills through their designated e- banking and mobile banking accounts. The initial implementation phase will support business-to- customer e-billing and related e-payments, business-to-business e- billing and related e-payments, cross-border e-billing and related e-payments, and online charity donation payments and issuance of electronic donation receipts. To ensure adequate support of cross-border transactions, the e- bill system will cover electronic payments using renminbi and U.S. dollars in addition to Hong Kong dollars, effectively expanding the coverage of cross-border transaction services. There will also be enhancements to shorten the clearing and settlement cycle for same-day cross-bank credit transfers, allowing banks to credit good funds to beneficiaries' bank accounts earlier. The services will be extended to cross-bank credit transfers of renminbi retail payments which would otherwise be made through more costly remittance service. Hong Kong Monetary Authority's Deputy Chief Executive Peter Pang said the authority will work with the industry in building a versatile platform for mobile, internet and electronic retail payments in Hong Kong. "With the support of the banking sector, we are confident that the retail payment infrastructure in Hong Kong will continue to make good progress and enter into a new era of diversified retail payments, thereby reinforcing the position of Hong Kong as an international finance centre."