HSBC Zing app: forex rival to Revolut and Wise launches

The banking giant has debuted an international payments app to compete against digital banks who have rejuvenated the sector.

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HSBC has thrown its hat into the fintech app ring by announcing the launch of Zing, a foreign exchange app that helps users make multi-currency payments.

Zing allows customers to hold 10 different currencies and access low-cost international transfers and foreign spending in over 30 currencies.

The move by the London-based bank will make it part of a popularised cross-border payments industry that have fueled growth for the likes of Wise, Paysend, and Revolut.

A banking giant among the disruptors

HSBC may have a huge brand clout of its own, but there’s some ground to make up for Zing. Wise has amassed 16 million users since its 2011 launch, while the digital bank, Revolut, has more than 30 million customers. Paysend, although newer than the fintech veterans, raised £51.4m in a strategic investment from Mastercard.

Aiming to capitalise on the growth of the fintech sector, the forex app will be available to UK users as of Wednesday January 3rd, with hopes of being launched in two other continents by the end of 2024. The app will be available via the App Store and Google Play.

“Now is the time for a new kind of international payments solution; one that combines cutting-edge innovation with the support of a global bank,” notes James Allan, founder and chief executive of Zing.

He adds that 57% of UK adults are increasingly living an international lifestyle, by either spending time living abroad or having aspirations to do so. Zing is a response to a growing demand for accessible foreign exchanges.

A fintech gamble

According to experts, HSBC’s fintech venture is an attempt to lure in younger generations of customers and encourage them to convert to some of the bank’s other products.

Statistics show Generation Z in particular is hungry for fintech products, as 62% of 18-24 year olds are investing and 57% are using apps to manage their money.

A further 87% of Gen Z uses or has used some form of FinTech.

Unlike most other fintech startups, as a native product of HSBC, Zing will have the backing of a global banking giant. Despite this, users of Zing won’t need to have an HSBC account or make use of the bank’s product to be able to use the forex app, expanding its potential customer base.

HSBC is entering the fintech field despite a turbulent outlook for the industry. Although the sector’s valuation boomed prior to the pandemic, over the past year have prioritised profitability over growth when analysing new fintech additions to their portfolios.

The move indicates an appetite to modernise the foreign exchange model of big traditional banks. Back in 2017, Santander warned that a significant portion of its profits generated by expensive forex margins were in jeopardy because of Wise’s model.

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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