3 most popular digital banks in Hong Kong and what is driving their adoption?



Hong Kong citizens are increasingly accustomed to digital banking services, as half of them have opened a virtual bank account, but concerns remain about data security and privacy. Visa 2021 Consumer Attitudes towards Payment Study examined the preferences and emerging trends of consumers in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

In Hong Kong, half of the citizens had an account in a virtual bank because of the advantages of opening an account (58%), better interest rates for savings (55%) and procedures for checking in. quick and easy account opening (36%).

In addition, the awareness of virtual bank has increased from 75% in 2020 to 86% this year, with ZA Bank, Ant Bank and Mox being the most popular virtual banks.

Respondents in Hong Kong are still concerned about virtual banks. For example, 34% believed there was a higher chance that accounts would be hacked, while 31% believed they would fall victim to fraudulent or unauthorized transactions.

“The pandemic has brought about a big change in consumer behavior as digital technology becomes more and more part of everyday life. We are delighted to see that virtual banks are emerging in the region and that more and more consumers are adopting mobile banking services. These trends have brought new opportunities to the market, especially for the payments industry, ”said Maaike Steinebach, Managing Director of Visa Hong Kong and Macao.

Besides virtual banks, the study also looked at other digital banking preferences.

Almost four in 10 consumers in Hong Kong used more mobile banking services from their major banks than in the pre-COVID period. The same level of growth is expected within a year.

Mobile banking was the most widely used banking method in Hong Kong, with 82% using it several times a month.

Additionally, 82% of Hong Kong consumers have installed mobile banking apps on their phones (77% in 2020), citing that they can save time by not going to the bank (68%), access services mobile or online banking (65%), skip the line at the bank (64%).

However, traditional banks continue to have the upper hand, mainly due to security concerns. About 80% of respondents said they would use traditional banks as their primary bank; while 59% felt their money was safe in traditional banks and 56% found traditional banks reliable for transactions.

Finally, the majority of respondents in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan believe that sharing data presents more risks than benefits. They were reluctant to offer their personal data for monetization, and 63% of consumers believed they should be the primary custodian of their personal and financial data rather than banks, government, or businesses.

In Hong Kong, people were most worried about monetary losses due to illegal acts (56%), malicious intent to hack and obtain information (55%), and unauthorized information sharing with third (53%).

In contrast, respondents showed growing confidence in mobile payments as 61% felt secure when using mobile payments, a substantial increase from 28% in 2020. Almost 20% of those surveyed experienced security breaches for mobile payments. For example, they weren’t billed the correct amount (18%) by merchants and businesses that misuse personal information (18%) are two common violations encountered by users, followed by businesses that don’t offer sufficient security to protect mobile transactions (16%).

“It is of critical importance to the industry to balance convenience, speed and user experience with robust privacy and security protection. Visa will continue to work closely with these service providers to deliver innovative and secure payment solutions to consumers, ”added Steinebach.

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