Neat Snubs Virtual Banking License and Picks Up The Money Lender License Instead

Neat Snubs Virtual Banking License and Picks Up The Money Lender License Instead

by April 1, 2019
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The fintech startup Neat, a digital banking alternative, has been granted a Money Lender’s License in Hong Kong, which marks their first step in their pursuit of global financial regulation.

The move also marks Neat’s full turn away from virtual banking license that has been hotly discussed in Hong Kong’s fintech scene—and has most recently been granted to three licensees, including companies affiliated with ZhongAn and Standard Chartered.

Neat is also applying for a Money Service Operator (MSO) license, and a Trust and Corporate Service Provider license (TCSP) license, soon to be followed by a HKMA license in Hong Kong.

Neat’s David Rosa has been vocal about not trying to obtain the virtual banking license, due to its HK$300 million initial investment requirement that would likely preclude SME-focused businesses like Neat from profitability. David was also reticent about what he characterised as a need for “high-profile board members” on top of stricter IT security requirements compared to regular banks.

As a digital banking alternative, Neat provides multi-currency business accounts for startups and SMEs, along with prepaid Neat Mastercards, which can be used globally. With the Money Lender’s License, going forward Neat will be able to offer lending services, such as credit cards, loans, or lines of credit.

Today, Neat works with a number of regulated partners and banks to offer its business account and Mastercards. 

David Rosa, CEO of Neat, said:

David Rosa

David Rosa

“In the next six months we’re taking big steps to become directly regulated. Having the right licenses will give us the platform to be self-reliant and build even more financial services for entrepreneurs and businesses, and this is just the beginning.”

Featured image credit: Neat Facebook

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