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Exclusive: HSBC's new fintech app Zing built on Monese's platform

Zing was launched by HSBC last week, with more than a little help from Monese's tech and talent

HSBC Zing

Zing

HSBC's new fintech app was built using Monese's XYB platform, AltFi can exclusively reveal.

Zing is new cross-border payments app solely owned by HSBC, aimed initially at UK customers.

It launched last week, raising eyebrows in fintech circles owing to its overt competitive play against some of Europe's most valuable fintech consumer fintech companies such as Wise and Revolut.

The stealthy manner in which it was developed also added to the dramatic effect, appearing seemingly out of nowhere at a time of retrenching fintech investment, especially in the consumer space.

Led by James Allan, Zing's CEO and founder, the app offers users features synonymous with Revolut and Wise and the look and feel of a robust fintech app.

Allan is a career banker who spent a decade at Barclays and joined HSBC in 2020. The Zing project appears to have kicked off in late 2021, suggesting the bank managed to bring it to market from its original conception in just over two years.

While the project is wholly owned and successfully kept under wraps by HSBC, over this time the bank tapped neobanking challenger Monese for its core banking platform to power Zing, according to people familiar with the matter.

HSBC made a $35m 'strategic' investment into Monese in September 2022, giving the incumbent bank a minority stake in the fintech banking challenger of less than 10 per cent and making it one of its largest shareholders.

At the time of the investment Catherine Zhou, HSBC's-then global head of ventures, digital partnerships and innovation (now chief information officer of HSBC's banking and private wealth business), said: “HSBC is excited to invest in Monese as one of the leading fintech players in the market. “Our investment will provide stronger strategic alignment and enable us to build on our strengths as partners.”

It also appears a number of staff, mostly software engineers and designers, from Monese have moved across to HSBC.

Zing has also been successful in hiring fintech talent from across the industry, poaching for senior roles at Revolut, Wise and Monzo.

Monese this year formalised its platform-as-a-service business into a new brand called XYB which it aims to sell widely to banks and fintechs.

HSBC and Monese did not comment at the time of publication.

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