HSBC Throws Hat in the Ring - New App Zing Aims to Rival Revolut and Wise!

25 Apr 2024

HSBC, the banking giant, is finally entering the ring with its new app, Zing (launched in January 2024 in UK). It aims to disrupt the international money transfer space currently dominated by fintech players like Revolut and Wise. But is this a genuine challenge, or just a latecomer trying to play catch-up?

The answer lies in the margins. Fintech companies have been steadily eroding traditional banks' profits with their user-friendly apps and competitive fees.

James Allan, CEO of Zing, acknowledges this shift:

"It's time for a new kind of solution, one that combines cutting-edge tech with the trust of a global bank like HSBC."

Is It a Smart Move for Younger Audience?

Analysts see Zing as a strategic move for HSBC. Benjamin Toms of RBC believes it's a “defensive play” to attract younger, tech-savvy customers who might become lifelong HSBC clients. Unlike existing HSBC FX services, Zing is free to download for everyone.

But, lemme clear one thing!

Zing operates under the FCA as an e-money institution, not a bank. This means your deposits won't be protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, something to consider before diving in.

Despite these uncertainties, Zing's arrival signifies a critical shift in the financial world. As established institutions adapt and innovate, consumers stand to benefit from a more competitive international payments ecosystem.

HSBC, however, has global aspirations for Zing.

Nuno Matos, CEO of their wealth and personal banking division, added:

‘‘We want to become a leading platform for international payments, which aligns perfectly with HSBC's overall payments strategy. Expect to see Zing launching soon in Asia, the Middle East, and EU markets."

This focus on innovation and trust is key for Zing. This will attract customers who value fintech apps’ convenience while seeking the security.

Feature Comparison - HSBC’s Zing vs. Revolut & Wise


HSBC’s Zing



Primary Function

Foreign exchange & international money transfer

Multi-currency spending & international money transfer

International money transfer

Number of Currencies Supported


Over 140

Over 40

Debit Card

Yes (physical & virtual)

Yes (physical & virtual)

Yes (physical & virtual)


Conversion charges and currency exchange

Free standard plan (limited features), paid plans with higher limits & features

Transaction fees based on amount & currency


Simplicity & ease of use for occasional international transactions

Multi-functionality for everyday spending & travel

Cost-effective international money transfers

Recruiting Top Talent for the Challenge

To compete effectively, HSBC is building a strong team. They've recruited key personnel from their fintech rivals, like Neil McKeown (ex-Monzo) and Dario De Angelis (ex-Revolut), to leverage valuable industry expertise. Additionally, Eduardo Mercer, a software engineer veteran from Wise, strengthens Zing's technical core.

This increased competition injects a healthy dose of competition into the European cross-border payments scene. Ultimately, consumers benefit from more options, potentially lower fees, and a continued push for innovative solutions in the international money transfer market.

James Allan, CEO of Zing, says,

"It's a win-win for everyone who wants a simpler, faster, and more reliable way to manage their money internationally."

Can Zing Outshine its Competitors?

HSBC's strategic investments, focus on user experience, and global ambitions suggest they're serious about the game. Only time will tell if they can woo customers away from the current fintech champions. The battle for dominance in international money transfers has just become even more interesting.

Potential Pros & Cons!


Potential Pros

Potential Cons

Brand Recognition

Leverages HSBC's established brand and reputation for security

May not have the same brand awareness as Revolut or Wise

User Experience

Focuses on user-friendliness for a smooth money transfer experience

Needs to prove its app is as intuitive and user-friendly as competitors

Global Reach

Ambitious plans for global expansion, offering services in new markets

Initial launch is limited to UK customers only

Team Expertise

Recruited top talent from fintech rivals, bringing industry knowledge

Needs to demonstrate its team can deliver a competitive product

Key Takeaways from this New and Improved Competition!

This head-to-head competition is a game-changer in the cross-border payments market, especially in UK. Here is what will you get:

  • HSBC offers established banking security, but Revolut and Wise are known for their cutting-edge tech. Zing aims to bridge this gap, offering both trust and a tech-savvy experience.
  • With more options, fees may drop, and features may become more user-friendly. This may include faster transfers, better exchange rates, and a smoother overall experience.
  • This competition between big banks and fintech companies will benefit you the most. It can include a wider range of services, lower costs, and a constant push for innovation.

Stay updated for more updates about the fintech industry! For now, share your thoughts in the comments.