Visa Study: Pandemic accelerates the growth of virtual and mobile banking services in Hong Kong, yet security remains top concern for consumers


• Over 85 percent of consumers in Hong Kong are aware of virtual banking with half opening a virtual bank account, up from 21 percent last year
• Four-fifths (82 percent) of consumers expressed concerns about security and data privacy with their digital information shared with third party. The majority believe that data sharing poses more risks than benefits
• Open banking is a possible means to tackle the problem arising from data sharing. Although the awareness of open banking increases over the year, less than half are interested in their services.


One in two Hong Kongers have already opened an account with a virtual bank because of the rewards with account opening (58 percent), better interest rates for savings (55%) and quick and easy account opening procedures (36%), according to the latest study by Visa, the leading global payments technology company.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2021 examined the preferences and emerging trends of consumers in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The study also showed that 4 out of 10 consumers in Hong Kong used more mobile banking services from their primary banks than the pre-COVID period. The same level of growth is expected one year from now on. However, traditional banks continue to have the upper hand, mainly due to security concerns. Eighty percent of Hong Kongers survey said they will use traditional banks as their main bank; 59 percent feel their money is safe in the traditional banks and 56 percent find traditional banks reliable for transacting.

Maaike Steinebach, General Manager, Visa Hong Kong and Macau: “The pandemic has led to a big shift in consumer behavior as digital becomes more integral to everyday life. We are delighted to see that virtual banks are springing up in the region and more consumers are embracing mobile banking services. These trends have brought new opportunities to the market, particularly for the payments industry. However, it is of crucial importance for 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 bring innovative and secure payment solutions to consumers.”


Virtual banking awareness continues to increase among consumers in Hong Kong, yet the majority prefer traditional banks over virtual banks

  • The awareness of virtual banking has risen from 75 percent in 2020 to 86 percent this year, with ZA Bank, Ant Bank and Mox being the most popular ones.
  • Barriers to virtual banking mostly revolve around security concerns such as higher chances of accounts getting hacked (34 percent) and falling victim to fraudulent or unauthorized transactions (31 percent).


The growth of mobile banking services gained momentum with the pandemic

  • Mobile banking is the most frequented banking method, used several times in a month by consumers in Hong Kong (82 percent), Taiwan (71 percent) and Macau (64 percent), followed by online banking in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • 82 percent of Hong Kong consumers have mobile banking apps installed on their phones (2020: 77 percent). Consumers continue to see and appreciate the time-saving factor and convenience of mobile banking apps as the top three reasons for using online banking are saving time by not travelling to the bank (68 percent), accessibility of mobile or online banking (65 percent), followed by not liking to queue at bank (64 percent).


Consumers remain vigilant with the amount of digital information they share online

  • The majority from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan share the same thought of data sharing posing more risks than benefits. They are hesitant to offer their personal data for monetization.
  • Sixty-three percent of consumers think they should be the main custodian of their personal and financial data instead of banks, government, or corporations.
  • In Hong Kong, people are worried about monetary loss due to unlawful acts (56 percent), malicious intentions of hacking and obtaining information (55 percent) and unauthorized information sharing with third parties (53 percent).


In contrast, consumers feel safer using mobile phone payments, yet security concerns still prevail

  • Users are showing growing faith in mobile payments as 61 percent feel safe when using mobile payments, a substantial increase from 28 percent in 2020. However, there are potential concerns around them such as phone theft, hacking and unauthorized access.
  • Nearly 1 out of 5 consumers have experienced security breaches for mobile payments. Not being charged the proper amount (18 percent) and companies misusing personal information (18 percent) are two common breaches encountered by users, followed by companies not providing sufficient security to protect mobile transactions (16 percent).



About Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey is an annual study meant to understand payment behaviors of consumers in key markets when it comes to digital payments, digital banking and the future of commerce.

This year, the survey was conducted amongst 2,000 consumers in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in July 2021 and aims to uncover insights and trends in the industry.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit and @VisaNews.