March 23, 2016 -
Neat is a mobile banking startup based in Hong Kong that blends biometric security with machine intelligence.
The new bank, co-founded by former Citibank veteran David Rosa, is currently testing its technology and receiving guidance and mentorship as part of the territory’s SuperCharger fintech accelerator, which is backed by Standard Chartered and Baidu.
Neat operates as mobile banking app with a companion card and uses facial recognition technology to authenticate customers at log-in. The company plans to apply AI technology to user payment data, creating distinct behavioural clusters combined with geo-location to offer personalized and local promotions to users.
David Rosa, CEO, says that by not operating any physical branches , Neat’s customer acquisition costs are 16 times lower than those of a traditional bank.
Rosa says, “This is a mobile bank account, you do everything through the smartphone, so this is how we can compete in a market that is prohibitive, as we are 16 times cheaper than a bank in terms of running costs.”
According to a report by Banking Tech, the bank has opened its waiting list to university students and young professionals and are looking at a Q2 2016 launch. The ‘pay-by-selfie’ feature appeals to the younger crowd, and Neat says it is also targeting young professionals who prefer a debit card to shop online.
Rosa says users can top up their app wallet either from their traditional bank accounts or by “pulling” in cash from the app and that Neat will be compatible with Apple Pay and Android Pay, and it plans to launch to beta users in the second quarter of this year.