Asia Challenger Banks Partnerships Trending

ZA Bank’s Integration With Wise Marks the End of Hidden Transfer Fees for Hong Kong Users

Its latest integration with Wise is turning ZA Bank into one of the first Hong Kong banks to launch international transfers with no foreign exchange (FX) mark-ups or hidden fees.

The coming together of the two companies seeks to provide Hong Kong citizens with low-cost and time-efficient money transfer services.

Conventional remittances typically incur high charges and various hidden fees. A lack of transparency around fee structures ultimately distorts the true cost of transfers for users.

According to a Wise-commissioned Coleman Parkes study, hidden exchange rate markups cost Hong Kong businesses an estimated $1.18billion in 2021.

Furthermore, 86 per cent of Hong Kong respondents couldn’t identify the true cost of sending money abroad.

The integration also confirms Wise’s launch in Hong Kong with ZA Bank as its first neobank partner in East Asia.

Wise’s infrastructure for banks and non-banks is enabling ZA Bank users to make international money transfers from HKD to AUD, USD, GBP, CAD and SGD; alongside nine other currencies.

The service completes half of all transfers instantly and measures against mid-market rates. Associated fees include a Wise fee and a convenience fee.

Additionally, ZA Bank’s app notifies senders of the progress of their transfer. Transfers are completed entirely from within the app’s interface.

This offering is now available to all ZA Bank’s users.

A new transparency 
Calvin Ng, alternate chief executive and co-head of retail banking at ZA Bank
Calvin Ng, alternate chief executive and co-head of retail banking, ZA Bank

In regards to remittances, Calvin Ng, alternate chief executive and co-head of retail banking at ZA Bank, cites high fees and low transparency as typical pain points.

Ng confirms that the new service “successfully tackles these problems,” without worrying users about FX markups and hidden charges.

“We believe that the combined strengths of ZA Bank and Wise will bring users unrivalled service and convenience,” he adds.

Vinay Palathinkal, regional head of Wise, elaborates on these points. “Though an email can travel in seconds, moving money internationally is still incredibly cumbersome, slow and expensive,” he says.

“Wise and ZA Bank have a shared vision to change the status quo and provide a fairer, more transparent banking experience for everyone,” he continues.

“We’re thrilled to have ZA Bank onboard as our first partner in Hong Kong, which would enable millions of more Hongkongers to access faster, cheaper international transfers from HKD.”

The Wise platform is live with around 50 bank and non-bank partners globally. These include Monzo in the UK, N26 in Germany, Shinhan Bank in South Korea and Aspire in Singapore.


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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