[Sponsored Article] A few years back the Hong Kong Monetary Authority heeded the calls for smart banking to better reflect people’s needs; and now Fusion Bank brings its new customers seamless and thoughtful services empowered by new technologies and a new, cost-effective business model. Not that many years ago, one of the most common excuses by office employees returning late from their lunch break was the need to visit a nearby bank branch. They would need to join a long queue, waiting their turn at a teller. Yes, whether it was to open a bank account, transfer funds, settle bills, make a deposit, and purchase some financial products—people had to stay in a line to offer money to a bank for some of the bank’s products. To better reflect the lifestyle needs of the current generation of banking service customer, can a bank’s functions be streamlined? The answer from a new wave of licensed virtual banks is a resounding ‘Yes, of course!’. And Fusion Bank has made it its goal being its best to enhance financial inclusion for its retail customers, while driving FinTech development in the city. In the past, opening a bank account would involve procedures to fill in forms and submit identification, making certain to get a precisely perfect signatures on all important documents. That, presumably, was only feasible when the office worker’s supervisors were considerate enough to allow their staff permission to leave their workplace temporarily, during what are ironically called ‘bank hours’. Now, as Fusion Bank’s growing numbers of account holders can attest, the procedure of opening a bank account with the virtual bank often takes no longer than a short harbour-crossing ferry ride. This thanks to a seamless mobile-based operation, plus the application of cutting-edge technologies, including facial recognition technology. It’s virtually ‘Blink, and it’s done’. And yes, the virtual bank operates round-the-clock. So you can still visit at your lunch hour, without leaving your desk. Or even in into the wee hours of the morning, if that suits you best. As one of Hong Kong’s eight licensed virtual banks, Fusion Bank is jointly owned by some of the most celebrated international and local business names: Tencent Holdings Limited, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, private equity firm Hillhouse Capital and Hong Kong entrepreneur Adrian Cheng–via investment entity Perfect Ridge Limited. This stellar collection of the bank’s shareholders, forming the core of Fusion Bank, brings to it expertise across business spaces. Says Jim Lai, Vice President of Tencent and Chairman of Fusion Bank: “Being the first licensed virtual bank for customers to bind their bank accounts to WeChat Pay HK, Fusion Bank makes the best of the connection with Tencent’s thriving ecosystem, and as such establishing an extensive network for local spending and cross-border payment for our customers.” This achievement is a testament to Fusion Bank’s competitive edge in developing innovative financial products and introducing new applications for financial services. Lai makes his pledge known, saying: “Fusion Bank will strive to create a platform that delivers delightful offers and extraordinary experiences, while harnessing the power of technology and the Internet to enhance our products and create value for our customers.” Since its launch, Fusion Bank has offered a range of convenient services to its customers. These include savings and time deposits; not only in Hong Kong dollars, but also in Renminbi and US dollars. All deposits up to HK$500,000 per depositor are protected by the city’s Deposit Protection Scheme. Local transfers, meanwhile, can be done free of service charge via the Faster Payment System (FPS) for Hong Kong dollars and Renminbi, or via the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) for US dollars. All such mobile transactions can be easily done on your fingertips, taking mere seconds. Fusion Bank is fully aware of the fact that people in Hong Kong are used to different currencies for trade, saving and investment purposes. It comes as no surprise then, that Fusion Bank is the first licensed virtual bank in Hong Kong to offer foreign exchange service. If a customer wishes to get a fixed-term deposit in a different currency, he or she can make the most of the service and exchange to the desired currency with the app. It has been clear that Fusion Bank is keen on promoting FinTech development in Hong Kong. As explained by Lai, in collaboration with WeChat Pay HK, Fusion Bank is the first virtual bank in Hong Kong that allows users to pair their bank account to WeChat Pay HK, a stored-value facility under Tencent, facilitating both local spending and cross-border payment. Not only is WeChat Pay HK one of the most used stored-value and mobile payment facilities in this part of the world, it also covers an impressive network of merchants in Hong Kong, spanning across categories including retail, food and beverage, transport and delivery services. It brings to users unrivalled convenience every day. The service, it must be added, is not limited to the use in the city. WeChat Pay HK was the first mobile wallet in Hong Kong to support offline cross-border mobile payment in Mainland China, when the service was unveiled in 2018. Last year, the excellent service started to be available in Macau, allowing users to make payment via WeChat Pay HK in our neighbouring Special Administrative Region. In Hong Kong’s countless physical stores, meanwhile, Fusion Bank customers can take advantage of making contactless payment at merchants registered under FPS, and payment for daily expenses such as electricity, water and gas, plus more; it’s all just a mobile scan away of the FPS QR codes. So now there’s never any need to wait at an ATM queue for cash. Or having to make payments at a crowded post office or convenience store. And, what’s most exciting is that Fusion Bank is Hong Kong’s first licensed virtual bank to provide foreign exchange services between the currencies of Hong Kong dollars, Renminbi and US dollars for trade, investment and other purposes. This looks set to be the beginning of more future services offered by the virtual bank, as assured by Eric Sum, Chief Executive of Fusion Bank. Says Sum: “We will actively gather feedback from customers and continue to enhance our products and services. Currently we are in discussion with our business partners from Mainland China, and overseas, to find ways to provide more resources worldwide to our customers, making their everyday life easier.” But for now, Fusion Bank account holders can immediately enjoy real benefits including 5% p.a. 3-month time deposit interest rates in Hong Kong dollars during the promotion period, and high interest rates for time deposits in Renminbi and US Dollar. Meanwhile, during the promotion period, WeChat Pay HK users can pair their account on the highly popular mobile payment system with Fusion Bank account and get a total of HK$188 worth e-cash coupons. So, wait no more, check out the Fusion Bank mobile app for details and other service integration opportunities. And be prepared to be impressed.