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Citibank Launches Citi Plus to Compete with Digital Banks

After piloting the product last year, Citibank Hong Kong formally unveiled Citi Plus, its mobile-first bank designed for digital natives.

The new offering aims to help users “level up” their banking experience by providing financial education, personalized wealth management tips, and easy access to a range of investment products.

“Citibank Hong Kong has shown strong determination in the development of digital banking in recent years. Citi Plus is our latest initiative to bring digital natives a banking experience they admire,” said Citibank Hong Kong Consumer Business Manager Lawrence Lam. “Millennials were invited to participate in research and the co-creation process, through which we could better address target clients’ pain points, and help them grow their wealth via the new service.”

The platform’s gamified user experience encourages users to build their wealth by accomplishing fun tasks. The Citi Interest Booster, for example, enables users to earn higher interest rate of up to 1.8% on their savings by completing what Citi calls “missions.” These missions include tasks such as maintaining a certain balance, funding accounts, investing, exchanging currency, and spending with their Citi Plus card.

In addition to the gamification element, Citi Plus will offer savings goals, debit and credit cards with built-in rewards, easy money transfer capabilities, and a low threshold investment platform. The investment opportunities include access to stocks, money market funds, and mutual funds from Aberdeen Standard Investments, Allianz Global Investors and Franklin Templeton.

In the first three weeks after the pilot launched, Citi received 5,000 registrants interested in Citi Plus, which is open to Hong Kong residents only.

The millennial-friendly user interface and marketing, combined with features such as low-threshold investing, financial education tools, and high interest savings accounts, help Citi compete with the increasing number of challenger banks and neobanks that are enticing young users. Unlike this group of digital banks, Citi has a slight upper hand. That’s because the bank not only has a robust existing user base from which to draw new clients, it also has an established reputation and inherent consumer trust.