Price com­par­i­son site is on the money

China Daily (Canada) - - HONGKONG -

The In­ter­net has em­pow­ered con­sumers to ac­cess more in­for­ma­tion than ever be­fore, but it has also made it that much harder some­times to zero in on ex­actly what one is after. Mon­ey­Hero.com.hk, a Hong Kong-based startup, has in­tro­duced a fi­nan­cial com­par­i­son plat­form that helps peo­ple quickly and eas­ily find the best fi­nan­cial prod­uct for their needs.

“Hong Kong con­sumers may come cross hun­dreds of op­tions when it comes to shop­ping around for the best fi­nan­cial prod­ucts, but there was no ser­vice to help peo­ple com­pare them,” says Mon­ey­Hero co-founder Alis­ter Mus­grave.

The site sim­pli­fies the com­par­i­son process for fi­nan­cial prod­ucts. With the click of a mouse, con­sumers are able to search, com­pare and ap­ply for a range of fi­nan­cial prod­ucts, in­clud­ing credit cards, per­sonal loans, and travel and health in­surance op­tions, of­fered by both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions op­er­at­ing in Hong Kong.

Mus­grave, a for­mer in­vest­ment banker at Mor­gan Stan­ley in London, says he cre­ated the site out of his own frus­tra­tion while search­ing for such prod­ucts.

Whereas a com­par­i­son plat­form like Mon­ey­Hero is quite a novel al­ter­na­tive for Hong Kong peo­ple, in Europe and else­where such ser­vices have been around for a while.

“When I was in the UK, I used com­par­i­son sites all the time for my bank­ing and in­surance needs. They are used by many peo­ple in the UK to save money and get the best deals,” Mus­grave says.

“I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong over the past few years. When I tried to get a credit card here last year, I couldn’t find a com­par­i­son web­site to help me get the best prod­uct. The mar­ket was not trans­par­ent and it was dif­fi­cult and time-con­sum­ing to get an over­view of all the prod­ucts from dif­fer­ent banks,” he ex­plains.

Mus­grave saw the gap in the mar­ket as a great op­por­tu­nity. Around the same time, his for­mer Mor­gan Stan­ley col­league Ger­ald Eder, man­ag­ing part­ner of Com­pareAsia Group, was build­ing price com­par­i­son sites in Malaysia.

“We joined to­gether and set up Mon­ey­Hero in Hong Kong a few weeks later,” Mus­grave says. With seed cap­i­tal from Nova Founders Cap­i­tal and a few other Hong Kong ven­ture cap­i­tal firms, Mon­ey­Hero.com.hk started op­er­a­tions in May last year. paid to the startup by providers and bro­kers in Hong Kong. A per­son us­ing the web­site to look for some­thing spe­cific like a credit card will be di­rected to the web­site of the provider they se­lect. If they com­plete an ap­pli­ca­tion for a prod­uct, Mon­ey­Hero.com.hk is com­pen­sated for the use of their in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices.

The site of­fers in­for­ma­tion about non­spon­sored prod­ucts as well. Mus­grave says the company gives no pri­or­ity to spon­sored prod­ucts on its page.

“We only rep­re­sent facts and show the best prod­ucts to our clients. We don’t put ad­ver­tise­ments or any­thing that will de­grade the user ex­pe­ri­ence on the site,” says Mus­grave, em­pha­siz­ing that Mon­ey­Hero.com.hk is an in­de­pen­dent and im­par­tial com­par­i­son por­tal.

But Mus­grave ad­mits that con­vinc­ing banks and other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to forge part­ner­ships with Mon­ey­Hero.com.hk was the big­gest chal­lenge he faced. “As a for­eigner, I have to earn trust from th­ese fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. For­tu­nately, I have a good team that has the knowl­edge and ex­per­tise to make this idea work,” he ex­plains.

The site sim­pli­fies fi­nan­cial prod­ucts down to the key de­ter­mi­nant fac­tors. Take credit cards for ex­am­ple. Users can rank credit cards by air miles, over­seas spend­ing, cash-back op­tions, and so on. They can also take a step fur­ther by choos­ing a num­ber of cards and putting them side by side to com­pare all the de­tails.

The company said that, ac­cord­ing to their re­cent survey, more than 70 per­cent of credit card users do not know their cards’ an­nual per­cent­age rate (APR), which is used by banks to de­ter­mine how much in­ter­est to charge if cus­tomers have not paid up in full at the end of their billing cy­cle.

Only 5 per­cent know the rate is more than 30 per­cent as the APR of most credit cards in Hong Kong range from 30 per­cent to 40 per­cent, and this changes ac­cord­ing to the credit wor­thi­ness of cus­tomers.

“Ul­ti­mately we want to help peo­ple save time and money. The monthly credit card to­tal debt amount is HK$115 bil­lion and we as­sume 70 per­cent of card­hold­ers are el­i­gi­ble for cash points. If they use Mon­ey­Hero.com. hk and choose the right credit card for their needs, they can find out how they can earn 1 per­cent cash back on av­er­age in­stead of only 0.4 per­cent cash back of­fered by most credit cards,” Mus­grave notes.

The ser­vice also pro­vides money-sav­ing tips and guides on its page. For in­stance, if you ex­pect to have a good credit stand­ing, you might not want to ap­ply for a num­ber of credit cards in a short time. That is be­cause too much credit ac­tiv­ity can hurt a credit score.

Cur­rently, the company is fo­cus­ing on prod­uct base and ex­pand­ing its mar­ket­ing cam­paign. “Mov­ing for­ward, we aim to be­come the mar­ket leader and the most com­pre­hen­sive and easy to use fi­nan­cial com­par­i­son plat­form in Hong Kong. We will ex­pand to cover more fi­nan­cial prod­ucts to main­tain or­ganic growth,” Mus­grave says, not­ing that they will of­fer mort­gage com­par­isons shortly.

Says Mus­grave: “The mar­ket in Hong Kong is primed for growth. We be­lieve that fi­nan­cial com­par­i­son por­tals will have a dra­matic im­pact on how Hong Kong con­sumers pur­chase fi­nan­cial prod­ucts.” Con­tact the writer at aman­dahua@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

PRO­VIDED TOO CHINA DAILY

The startup p is for­tu­nate too have a good teamm with the knowl­edge dge and ex­per­tise too make the idea work.

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