Mobile banking in Hong Kong is expected to heat up with the launch of the 'Breeze' service by Standard Chartered. Ashley Veasey, the chief information officer at Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong), said Breeze services would be launched in stages this year. The initial batch of services include tracking transactions, settling bills and credit-card payments, sending cheques and obtaining branch or automated teller machine information. Additional services that will come on stream in the next few months will include Breeze Home, which allows customers to search properties and check valuations, and Breeze Living, which allows credit-card customers to search for merchant privileges and grab exclusive deals. 'We expect the number of Breeze users to grow rapidly,' Veasey said. He said users of Apple's iPhone could download Breeze software applications for free. It would be made available later to users of other smartphone brands, such as those running the Android operating system. Standard Chartered has already launched Breeze services on the mainland, in Singapore, Malaysia and India. There are now more than two million active users of the bank's remote banking channels, including online and wireless, worldwide. In a report published in May by market research firm TNS, Hong Kong was ranked third worldwide in mobile financial activities, such as current account balances and making purchases. Its survey found 30 per cent of Hong Kong smartphone users access account balances and make purchases using their device. That put Hong Kong behind only South Korea, with 38.5 per cent, and Singapore, with 32.6 per cent. Among the prominent mobile banking services providers in Hong Kong are HSBC and Bank of East Asia. Data from the Office of the Telecommunications Authority showed that mobile-telephone users consumed on average 365.9 megabytes of data in June, an increase of 71.7 per cent from the same month last year. 'Such widespread use demonstrates that the Hong Kong public increasingly use smartphones for many daily needs, and we expect mobile banking will quickly catch on with the general public - especially among the younger generation,' said Mary Huen Wai-yi, the head of consumer banking at Standard Chartered. Juniper Research forecast the number of mobile banking users worldwide would reach more than 150 million this year.