HK’s Mtel launches free credit check app

Application also allows users to explore debt consolidation options, in what firm claims is a first for the Hong Kong market

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 4:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 10:46pm

A Hong Kong developer has launched an app which allows consumers to check their credit rating for free, after being recognised by an pan-Asian financial technology competition run by Citibank last year.

Mtel’s CreditCheck app, previously known as SmartLoan, is available for android and iOS from Tuesday. It easures credit worthiness on a scale of A to J, based on data compiled by credit reference agency Transunion.

“There are so many applications focused on expense management, but credit management or loan management is always seen as a black box for lot of people,” Mtel chief operations officer Jeff Chau said.

“We wanted a simple app to help us to crystallise, organise and monitor our loan accounts easily.”

Borrowers are usually charged a fee for a credit check, or often do not know they have a bad rating until they were declined credit by a bank.

On top of allowing users to keep track of their credit scores, the app also lets consumers view summaries of their credit accounts across different financial institutions and explore debt consolidation, in what it claims is a first for the Hong Kong market

Mtel said it plans to develop a user base for the app before exploring ways to monetise the product.

According to research by TransUnion, consumer awareness of the importance of a borrower’s credit score is growing in Hong Kong.

There are so many applications focused on expense management, but credit management or loan management is always seen as a black box for lot of people
Mtel chief operations officer Jeff Chau

The study showed 55 per cent of Hongkongers were aware of credit scores, up from 28 per cent in a similar study conducted three years ago.

Of those surveyed, 53 per cent acknowledged that a good credit score helps a borrower receive a better interest rate on a loan.

Lawrence Lo, director, consumer interactive at Transunion Hong Kong, added: “Credit scoring is powerful as it plays a key role in our major life decisions. It is very important to maintain a healthy credit score by regularly checking your credit report.”

Mtel won the “Best Money Manager Solution” award at the 2015 Citi Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific, beating a field of 72 prototypes developed by teams from 15 countries, based on impact, viability, user experience and functionality.

It has previously developed apps for companies including Starbucks, TownGas, and A.S. Watsons and has released CreditCheck under its own name.

“Citi Mobile Challenge was an extraordinary programme through which we identified new digital solutions that can be integrated into our business and products to enhance the banking experience of our clients,” said Lum Choong Yu, head of cards and unsecured lending at Citibank Global Consumer Banking.

“With the CreditCheck app, clients can get a better grasp of their own credit record, keep track of repayment schedules, and explore ways to save more through different debt consolidation options,” Lum said.

The app is available to all in Hong Kong and is not restricted to Citi customers, but a link inside the app does take users to Citi’s online banking website where they can learn more about the bank’s products.

Chau said banking and finance are key areas for the company and they plan to develop further products for this sector.