(Yicai Global) Dec. 11 -- British bank Standard Chartered has begun allowing existing account holders to open new bank accounts online, making it the first foreign-backed lender to offer such a service in China.
Holders of first-tier accounts, which are fully functional and must be opened in branch, will now be able to open second- and third-tier accounts online, Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday. The lower-tier accounts will face restrictions in functions, account balances and withdrawal amounts in line with rules set by China's central bank.
China ranked first among 11 emerging markets polled for their use of mobile banking, the report added, saying 84 percent of young Chinese are accustomed to the practice. The firm plans to improve its second-tier accounts early next year to allow holders to buy investment products on their phones, at present they can set up virtual debit cards, make third-party payments and bind bank cards to Alipay and WeChat Pay, the two biggest payment providers in the country.
"We provide convenient and efficient financial services to individual customers by vigorously developing digital services to give full play to the advantages foreign banks have in personal finance products and services," said Zhu Yaming, general manager of consumer banking at Standard Chartered China.
Individuals opening the accounts will need to be aged 18 or over and hold a Chinese identification card. They must also complete an online verification using facial recognition via Standard Chartered China's mobile app, the report added.