O-Bank calls for revisions of digital security rules
By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

O-Bank Co Ltd (王道商業銀行), the nation’s first digital bank, yesterday urged its peers to be more open to revising security rules so that more services could be delivered via connected mobile devices.

Stringent identity authentication and security guidelines set by the Bankers Association of the Republic of China have been obstacles to the company’s mobile-focused strategy, O-Bank chief retail banking officer and senior executive vice president Jerry Sung (宋靖仁) said at a news conference.

In particular, the company is concerned about limits imposed on digital accounts opened online, which have made it impossible for clients to send funds or pay bills on behalf of others, such as family members, Sung said.

The association devised three levels of identity authentication strength for different types of transactions, the strongest of which uses the Ministry of the Interior’s Citizen Digital Certificate and is required when customers send funds to other individuals.

However, the Citizen Digital Certificate requires the use of a smart card reader and a desktop computer, and is not compatible with smartphones and mobile services, Sung said.

Clearing the obstacle would go a long way toward the government’s goal of fostering development in mobile payments, financial technology and cutting the use of cash, he said.

Compared with more established peers, O-Bank has a much greater need for delivering its services via mobile devices, Sung said.

The company has opened a new branch, its second, in Taipei’s eastern district to take advantage of the high volume of foot traffic in the premium shopping area.

O-Bank would continue to collaborate with vendors and shops in the area on payment processing and promotional discounts, Sung said.

It expects to reach 100,000 digital bank accounts in the near future, representing 30 percent of the market, he said, attributing the rapid growth to its marketing strategy focused on social media presence.

The company’s products are focused on cash rewards and discounts to attract younger clients, Sung said, adding that more than 20 percent of new clients have been referred by existing customers.

O-Bank reported that net income at the end of the third quarter of last year totaled NT$1.05 billion (US$35.7 million) and earnings per share of NT$0.44.