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HSBC goes after Revolut and Wise with new fintech FX app Zing

The FX conversion and payments market is one of the most mature fintech markets, with several established disruptive names. HSBC thinks it can still take them on.



HSBC is set to launch a new international multi-currency payments app Zing, bringing it squarely into competition with some of the UK's most successful fintech companies.

Tomorrow UK users will be able to download Zing, which also has a debit card function, and use it in more than 200 countries. At launch, there will be the ability to hold up to 10 currencies in wallets.

A key feature is FX ‘sweeping’, whereby if a user doesn’t have enough local currency to make a payment the card can automatically convert other held currencies to complete the payment at the point of sale.

For those sending money internationally, Zing will launch with the ability to send over 30 currencies using a combination of local and Swift payments.

Zing is an e-money institution, and therefore not covered by the financial services compensation scheme, despite being part of the HSBC group. 

It was founded by James Allan, also its CEO, who has worked for HSBC since 2020, according to LinkedIn. Initially, Allan was hired as group head of FX and payments in HSBC’s wealth and personal banking division. 

In 2021 Allan appears to have started work on Zing, suggesting HSBC’s plans to take on fintech such as Revolut and Wise have been underway for more than two years.

“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. Zing delivers this truly unique proposition for consumers, helping them live their best international lives,” Allan said. 

In a competitive market, Zing will look to take on the likes of Revolut and Wise with a novel customer acquisition strategy. 

It plans to offer the first 10,000 people to join ‘Founding Member’ status which will mean “exclusive rewards” for users in their first year including their choice of fee-free currency conversions up to £1,000 transactions or 20 fee-free international ATM withdrawals. In addition, they will receive a special limited edition physical debit card.

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