Paid Post: MOX
How new Hong Kong virtual bank empowers customers with smart banking, saving and spending
Mox – created by Standard Chartered – has become one of the city’s fastest growing and most highly rated banks, appealing to an increasing number of Hongkongers, who are looking for something more. CEO Deniz Güven says its success follows months of research to better understand what people want
By Morning Studio editors
February 22, 2021
[Sponsored article]
Building a new bank is an ambitious endeavour. Creating one from scratch in 18 months while working from home during the continuing Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented. But Mox, a virtual bank created by Standard Chartered, managed to do just that.
The cloud-based bank, which was launched last September and celebrates its five-month anniversary today, provides a suite of services entirely digitally through its mobile app, with the customers in Hong Kong at the centre of its operations, helping them to grow their money, world and possibilities.
The bank’s journey began in 2017 when the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced a series of initiatives to bolster the city’s fintech industry and launch “a new era of smart banking”, including the introduction of virtual banks.
In 2019, HKMA opened up eight slots for new virtual banks, offering banking services through electronic channels while having no bricks-and-mortar branches.
Deniz Güven, CEO of Mox, and his team began their work by carrying out months of ethnographic research and surveys – listening to the views of some 4,500 residents while interacting with them in their everyday environment – to ensure they fully understood the Hong Kong market and what people want.
“I'm a big believer in building services instead of products to solve the pain points of customers,” Güven says. “So that's why Mox is a service-led bank. We want to touch the daily lives of our customers, and make it better.”
Now, in its fifth month since Mox officially launched, the research it carried out has paid off handsomely.
GENERATION MOX
over

80,000

customers aged 18 to 90+
Average customer age: 35
Top 3 occupations of customers: Banking, accounting, and finance; IT; Retail and wholesale
Customers rate the Mox app positively. It is Hong Kong's highest-rated and most-reviewed virtual bank in the App Store
We call our customers Generation Mox. They are a creative, curious and connected tribe. Generation Mox is not about age or digital savviness; it is a mindset for more possibilities. We believe banking should be simple, intuitive and delightful
Deniz Güven, CEO, Mox
Innovative and inclusive banking experience
Mox identified more than 80 different pain points during the research, but one in particular stood out: many participants had seen traditional banks providing better services to those customers based on how much money they have or deposit in the bank. In other words, banks tend to focus only on affluent customers.
“Many Hong Kong residents tell us they feel a bit underserved,” Güven says.
However, Mox promises to offer the same benefits, high standard and fast level of service to every customer – whether you deposit HK$100 (US$13) or HK$2 million, he adds.
“We are not taking the traditional segmentation model that looks at assets under management and income earned by our customers. Instead, we look at their spending behaviours and financial goals. We want to make banking accessible to all.”
Spend to save and save to spend
Another big pain point highlighted by the research is the lack of visibility when it comes to spending rewards, and the complexity around different reward programmes, conversion rates, expiry dates, reward platforms and redemption processes.
“Typically in Hong Kong, if you are using some other big banks, you don't always know how much you are getting as cashback,” Güven says. “They're giving points, miles or other types of multipliers, but there is no way to calculate it easily.
“A lot of times, you don’t even know how to redeem these rebates because they are coming into your credit card.”
Mox addressed this common frustration by becoming the first bank in Hong Kong to offer cashback in real “cash” credited daily back to the customers’ accounts, helping them further earn interest on that cashback automatically.
To date, the Mox Card has already been used more than 1.5 million times. Mox customers have been enjoying 1 per cent Unlimited CashBack everywhere they go and 5 per cent Super CashBack, up to HK$1,000, at over 30 merchant partners, including 1O1O, CSL, Trip.com, foodpanda, McDonald’s, Circle K, Amazon, App Store, and Google Play, and will continue to do so until March 31, 2021.
To address concerns surrounding data security and privacy, Mox also became the first bank in Asia to launch an all-in-one numberless bank card in partnership with Mastercard – with no credit card number or CVV (card verification code) printed on the card.
All card information can only be securely accessed in the Mox app. If customers were to lose the card, or if there are any signs of suspicious spending, customers can choose to freeze their card via the app immediately, too.
1,500,000+
(as of February 22, 2021)
transactions have been made at
over 16,000 merchants around
the world with the Mox Card
card most used on
December 14
with over
30,000
transactions
Spend and earn cashbacks
For every transaction made using Mox card,
cashback is instantly calculated
Cash is credited daily to the
customer’s account
Cashback earned can be used for
further spending or saving
For its spending, Generation Mox
has earned cashbacks totalling
HK$2,000,000
each month
(from September 2020 to January 2021)
=
83,333
McDonald’s
double cheeseburgers
Saving made easy and lucrative
Saving via Mox is being made even more attractive with its daily interest offering. Mox is the first virtual bank in Hong Kong that enables customers to earn daily interest.
Total deposits by Mox customers have almost doubled in just two months
Customers can also choose to create sub-accounts called Goals, which they can personalise according to their saving targets and needs. They can also upload images to help visualise these saving goals.
Top 5 categories of goals fall under:
Generation Mox has collectively committed to
saving goals that amount to
HK$660 billion
Smart banking: real-time service around the clock
“Starting from onboarding to all other things, everything on the Mox app is in real time,” Güven says.
Mox runs its virtual bank on an entirely new technology stack and is a fully cloud native bank, which means it is not on any physical server.
To open a Mox account, customers need to have only a HKID card before they download the app to start spending and saving smartly.
Then they will receive a virtual card immediately, and can connect it to Apple Pay or Google Pay, which will enable them to use it both physically and digitally on any e-commerce platform, Güven says.
Customers can also transfer money from another bank immediately via Faster Payments Service (FPS) or person-to-person (P2P) payments. All transactions can be tracked in real time to make personal financial management easier.
“The app thus becomes your new remote controller, enabling you to manage your money now in a different way,” Güven says.
An instant experience
The record time for opening a Mox bank account:
2mins 47secs
More than 55 per cent of the accounts were opened outside traditional bank hours
2021 and beyond
While much has been achieved in a short period, Mox is striving to constantly improve its services to change Hong Kong’s banking experience for the better.
The bank will continue to introduce new products and services, including a credit card, currently in beta testing with selected customers, which is expected to launch later, Güven says.
Throughout 2021, the bank also plans to launch additional banking, saving, spending and borrowing services to help customers grow their money, world and opportunities.
“In just five months, more than 1 per cent of the Hong Kong population have already started to use Mox,” Güven says.
The goal is to win “heart share”, rather than market share, he says. Mox aims to do this by continuing to make itself relevant to Hong Kong residents and their daily lives through putting the power of banking in the customers’ hands.
“We will continue to listen and to focus on customers – to win their trust and hearts, and look forward to welcoming many others among the remaining 99 per cent in the coming years. I see this as a marathon, not a sprint. This is going to be a bank for the next generations.”
All data and information in this article have been provided by Mox and are accurate as of February 5, 2021, unless otherwise specified.