Jointly owned by Standard Chartered, telecom firms PCCW and Hong Kong Telecom, and online travel agency, Mox joins the likes of ZA Bank as the first digital lenders to hit the markets in the history of Hong Kong.

Mox is among the eight entities that were granted a virtual banking license last year by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Among the 8 licensees, ZA was the first to soft-launch its services in December 2019.

In addition to the standard suite of features such as quick and easy registration, user-centric experience and high security, clients will also obtain an «all-in-one numberless bank card» – a card for purchases and cash withdrawals with no expiry date, verification value or other numbers to reduce risks.

“This external pilot is a critical step for selected external customers to use Mox, share their feedback with us and help us to refine our services,” said Deniz Güven, CEO of Mox in a statement.

Mox continues to make progress towards an official launch after recently undergoing beta testing with staff. Even in the midst of the outbreak, it continued to ramp up hiring with listed vacancies earlier this month that included roles for data engineers, payment operations, cyber assurance, development, UX research, operational risk management and more.

Though the broader environment for banking is not favourable, the relative advantage of digital banks is self-evident due to widespread limitation of movement and is likely to bolster adoption rates during this virus-stricken period. One estimate by Goldman Sachs before the crisis in 2018 marked 30 per cent of Hong Kong’s total banking revenue – or $15 billion – to be at risk of being overtaken by digital banks.