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The rise of virtual banks

An estimated 1.8 million Hong Kong adults are expected to have a virtual bank account by 2025.

Have you ever thought about doing away with your traditional bank account and opting for a 100% online option? While virtual banking is not yet the norm, it’s becoming increasingly popular. Around 16% of Hong Kong adults – an estimated 990,000 – say they have a virtual-only bank account and that number is set to grow according to our latest Google Survey of 1,202 Hong Kong adults.

Virtual banking adoption is set to increase

Over the next year, a further 6% of respondents say they plan to open a digital-only or 100% online bank account and an additional 6% say they plan to open one over the next five years. That means within five years an estimated 1.8 million Hong Kong adults are expected to hold online-only bank accounts.

Who is most likely to use a virtual bank account?

Women are currently slightly more likely than men to have a digital-only or neobank account – 17% of women have a digital-only bank account compared to 15% of men. However, when you take into account those planning to open an account, the gap closes. By 2025, 29% of women say they plan to have an online-only bank account compared to 28% of men.

Younger Hong Kongese may not be as digitally savvy as we think

While we might think of young adults as the most digitally savvy, just 13% of those aged 18-24 say they have an online-only bank account. However, that number is set to jump to over a quarter (26%) by 2025. A large proportion of those in the 55-64 age bracket are also set to jump on the bandwagon with an increase of 14 percentage points, from 8% to 22%.

How does Hong Kong compare with the rest of the world?

Brazil and Germany have the biggest percentage of online-only bankers out of the 13 countries included in the study, with 28% of each adult population reporting they bank digitally. India, Malaysia, Spain, Singapore and the Netherlands also have a large proportion of the population banking online with around one in five adults currently holding neobank accounts.

Those in Italy are least likely to have an online-only bank account at just 12%, followed by France at 13%. Virtual banking adoption is currently sitting at 15% in the Philippines, Mexico and Ireland and at 16% in Hong Kong.

Where is virtual banking growing the fastest?

Over the next five years, India is set to experience the biggest boom in digital banking adoption, with a 21% increase in the number of adults with online-only bank accounts. This means that by 2025, we estimate that just under 400 million Indian adults will hold neobank accounts. Brazil, Malaysia and the Philippines are also expected to see significant growth with an increase of 16% in each country, followed by Mexico and the Netherlands (15% each) and Germany and Hong Kong (12% each). Spain, Italy and Singapore are expected to have a more modest, but still significant, adoption rate of 10%, while the data suggests Ireland and France will have the slowest growth rates at 7% and 5% respectively.


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