WeLab Virtual Bank: Fees and rates revealed

Joao Marcos

WeLab is a virtual bank which is authorised by the Monetary Authority of Hong Kong¹. Virtual banks which offer digital financial services are a key part of helping the Hong Kong financial service sector move into the age of smart banking. WeLab offers digital banking services, and through WeLend also facilitates consumer and business loans².

This guide will walk through the types of services provided by WeLab, covering important features and fees.

Having simple and convenient ways to manage your money online makes sense. In addition to looking at WeLab we’ll also touch on a smart alternative to help you decide whether WeLab is right for you - Wise.

Wise is an expert in international online money transfers - something which is not yet facilitated by WeLab. If you need to send, receive or spend money abroad, you might get a better deal with Wise. Let’s get going.

Start saving with international transfers

WeLab Bank account features and prices

While many banks in Hong Kong offer online banking services, virtual banks like WeLab work entirely online with no physical branches³. Whether you’re saving, spending, or borrowing there are WeLab products to suit you.

Let’s take a look at some of the key fees you need to know about:

Service⁴WeLab Fees
WeLab debit card annual feeWaived
ATM withdrawals
  • Free from JETCO network ATMs
  • HK$ 30for withdrawals at other ATMs in Hong Kong
Foreign transaction fee1.8% of transaction value
Faster Payment System⁵ transfer feeWaived
Inbound telegraphic transfer feeHK$50 - correspondent bank charges if any
Paper statementsHK$20 per statement
Bank reference letterHK$200

What are the other services WeLab offers to the customers?

WeLab works under a number of different brands offering different services in different geographies⁵. Here’s a rundown.

WeLend

WeLend specialises in consumer credit, with loans available online with instant approvals⁶. WeLend uses AI technology to regulate loan applications and means you can get consumer credit without needing to go to a bank branch. Loans are available from HKD5,000 to HKD800,000 - applications may be subject to credit checking.

WeLab Bank

WeLab bank has a range of products including accounts and time deposits for simple saving. You can get a linked debit card for easy spending, and send money online instantly to others³.

WeLab Digital

WeLab Digital is WeLab’s consumer credit arm for the Mainland. It’s the second largest consumer lending platform in Mainland China⁷.

Tianmian Labs

Tianmian Labs is a business to business provider, which works on big data driven credit technology solutions for other businesses including banks and institutions⁸.

Maucash

Maucash is similar to WeLend, but works in Indonesia providing a diverse range of consumer credit options⁹. Maucash is operated with a local partner in Indonesia.

Taoxinji

Taoxinji offers credit for electronic products. You can get high end electronics like phones for a monthly rental fee, and then at the end of the agreed rental period, simply hand back the phone and get another contract for the most up to date version¹⁰.

WeLab Bank international transfer: is it possible?

At the moment it is not possible to make international payments with WeLab. You can make local transfers and FPS transfers only, which means payments are only possible to Hong Kong and Mainland China¹¹.

If you need to send money elsewhere, you’ll need another alternative. If you chose WeLab for the convenience of seamless online services, you’ll love Wise. Send money all over the world, with a free account which you can open and operate using your favourite devices.

Read on for details of smart ways to get cheap secure international transfers with Wise.

Sending money abroad? Watch for hidden fees in the exchange rate

When you’re deciding which provider to use for your international transfer there are a few things to think about.

Firstly there’s the upfront fee, which is typically listed as a transfer fee or cable cost. Next, check if there are additional charges known as correspondent bank handling fees. These are applied if the payment is routed using the SWIFT network, and can push up the price significantly.

Finally, you need to check the exchange rate used to see if an additional fee has been added in the form of a markup. Adding a markup to the exchange rate is common - but it’s not transparent and can make it hard to see the real cost of your transfer.

Compare the exchange rate your bank or provider gives you against the mid-market exchange rate, to see if a spread or markup has been added. If it has, you could be better off with a mid-market provider such as Wise.

Wise: A cheap, fast and transparent alternative for your international transfers

With Wise, you can make and receive convenient international payments all over the world, without worrying about hidden fees that crop up thanks to the SWIFT network or dodgy exchange rates.

You can open your account online, and hold dozens of different currencies all in the same place. You’ll then be able to hold, spend or send your balance - or switch your funds to alternative currencies using the mid-market rate, all within the Wise app.

Join Wise for free

There’s no charge to open an account, no minimum balance and no service fee. If you need a smart way to send money overseas, try out Wise.

WeLab Hong Kong contact - How to get in touch

To learn more about WeLab bank you can call the customer service line on +852 3898 6988. You can also email for support on wecare@welab.bank.

Digital banking is growing in popularity all over the world. If you’re thinking of getting a virtual bank account in Hong Kong, WeLab might be the perfect match.

As it’s not currently possible to send money overseas with WeLab, why not pair your new WeLab account with Wise for simple, safe international transfers all over the world?

Sources used in the article:

  1. Hong Kong Monetary Authority - Virtual Banks
  2. WeLab - Website
  3. WeLab Bank
  4. WeLab - General Service Charges
  5. WeLab - Website
  6. WeLend - Website
  7. WoLai Digital Technology
  8. Tianmian Lab - Website
  9. MauCash - Website
  10. Taoxinji - Website
  11. Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited - FPS

Sources last checked on 09 September 2020


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location