Digital & Technology

Hong Kong virtual bank launches Pilot Trial

Airstar Bank, a virtual bank based in Hong Kong, has launched a pilot trial which will be conducted within the confines of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s FinTech Supervisory Sandbox.

Airstar Bank, a jointly established entity by Xiaomi Corporation and AMTD Group, was granted a banking license by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in May 2019, according to the Bank’s website.

The pilot trial will onboard around about 2000 customers, the majority of whom are affiliates of Airstar Bank, Xiaomi and AMTD Group. The purpose of the trial, according to a report by Crowdfund Insider, is to allow the Bank to receive feedback and streamline services.

An Airstar Bank spokesperson said that “Airstar strives to embrace innovation and financial inclusion, and promotes ‘Financial Innovation for Everyone’. We truly believe Airstar will be a valuable contributor to the banking industry in Hong Kong, and become ‘Everyone’s Bank’.”

Airstar Bank will offer customers a choice of two options. The Bank, as it is part of the Deposit Protection Scheme, has stated that eligible deposits taken by Airstar Bank are protected by the Scheme up to a limit of HKD500,000 per depositor.

Airstar's customers will be able to open an account remotely in 5 minutes the soonest using their Hong Kong identity card with no minimum deposit requirement, according to a press release. Airstar's customers can also enjoy free inter-bank transfer through the Faster Payment System (FPS) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).

In terms of deposits, Airstar will provide two attractive products during the pilot trial, these offers being that of tiered-pricing savings deposits and customers will enjoy a deposit rate of up to 1% per annum for HKD saving deposits between HKD500,000 and HKD1,000,000.

Customers who place time deposits have the flexibility to customise the time deposit maturity dates, such as an 8-day, 19-day or 27-day time deposit. Customers can even terminate the time deposit at any time prior to maturity without any penalty or surcharge, according to the press release.

Airstar Bank will also provide unsecured lending products for customers at transparent pricing with interest accrual on a daily basis. Customers can repay anytime without any prepayment fee. On the other hand, the Bank shall enhance its product designs and services continuously based on the customer's feedback to be gathered during the pilot trial.