Taiwan's best digital bank 2020: Taishin Bank
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Taiwan's best digital bank 2020: Taishin Bank

Taishin Bank

Oliver Shang, President, Taishin Bank.jpg
Oliver Shang, Taishin Bank

Although banks in Taiwan moved later than international rivals when it came to betting on digital, this is now a core part of many banks’ business plans. Taishin Bank, however, stands out for its fully digital bank, called Richart.

Some of Taiwan’s banks focus on a piecemeal knitting together of offline operations in branches and ATMs with mobile apps. But Taishin’s president, Oliver Shang, opted to establish a service fully independent of any physical presence, and in the process created Taiwan’s largest digital bank.

Through a suite of products and services, including savings and foreign currency accounts, personal loans, insurance and fund investment, Richart has captured 50% of the online market: more than 2.1 million customers have applied for its savings accounts and foreign currency accounts.

Digital savings accounts have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and are expected to become even more so as people look for a safe way to access banking services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Part of the digital bank’s success has come from targeting customers with product bundles, including high-interest savings accounts offered with credit cards and loans with a ‘Maji Score’. The latter is a scoring mechanism that changes a customer’s credit line with Richart in response to behavioural changes. For example, a customer could reduce the interest rate charged by completing tasks such as making five account transfers within a month.

The digital bank also provides an entirely paperless lending process that can go from application to release of funds within 20 minutes.

While Richart is targeted at Taiwan’s young population, there is a broader service available in Taishin Mobile Bank, which increased its user base from 1.3 million to 2.3 million from 2016 through 2019. The smartphone app had 590,000 active users a month. Among the perks that come with Taishin’s mobile banking are cardless foreign currency withdrawal from ATMs and non-designated foreign currency transfers online.

Taishin’s third digital banking pillar is its streamlining of online credit card applications. From a clunky and confusing process, the bank has partnered with the government’s MyData service to identify and verify card applicants. By the end of 2019, 50% of Taishin’s credit card applications were made online.

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