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Monday, December 8, 2014, 09:02

Price comparison site is on the money

By Hua Yang

MoneyHero.com.hk aims to take the sweat out of choosing financial products online, from credit cards to travel or health insurance, as its founders hope to build on trust. Hua Yang reports.

Price comparison site is on the money
Price comparison site is on the money

The startup is fortunate to have a good team with the knowledge and expertise to make the idea work. (Provided to China Daily)

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.

Price comparison site is on the money

A single mouse click can call up an array of comparative options, with the goal being to show the best products to clients,  without ads to degrade  the user experience. (Provided to China Daily)

Vetting for the best

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.

The site does not compare the whole of the market. Musgrave says that greater variety does not necessarily translate into better options. The site vets products to show consumers to provide them with the best options.

MoneyHero.com.hk is free to use. The business model behind the website includes fees 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 non-sponsored 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.

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