ZA Bank Hong Kong: fees and rates revealed

Joao Marcos

ZA Bank became the first 100% online Hong Kong bank after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority started to allow and regulate virtual banks¹ ². Virtual banks provide digital banking services - which means you don’t need to visit a branch to carry out your regular transactions. This promotes financial inclusion and can make life much easier for busy people who struggle to fit in with limited banking hours.

This guide will walk through ZA Bank’s fees and features, to help you compare accounts with other online options from banks in Hong Kong. We’ll also take a look at another entirely online account as a comparison - Wise - to help you find the right product for your needs.

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ZA Bank account features and prices for individuals

You can apply for a personal ZA Bank if you’re aged 18 or above, with a valid HKID card. You’ll also need a Hong Kong residential address and working mobile phone³. Open your account online in just a few minutes, by downloading the ZA Bank app.

Virtual banks don’t have the same overheads as regular banks - which can mean they’re much cheaper to use. However, there are still fees for some services, as you might expect⁴. Here’s a run down of the key costs you need to know about when using ZA Bank as a personal customer⁵.

ServiceZA Bank Personal Customer Fees⁵
CHATS payment inward/outwardwaived
Time deposit early withdrawalThe higher of either:
  • Principal (interbank rate - interest rate) no. of days due to maturity / total no. of days in a year OR
  • HKD 200
Personal loan early settlement2% of remaining principal
Personal loan late paymentHKD300 + default interest rate of 4% of the due principal amount

ZA Bank business account features and prices

ZA Bank also offers business bank accounts. Application at present is by invitation only, with eligibility limited to businesses which were established or incorporated in Hong Kong.

The features and fees of business accounts are somewhat different to the personal bank accounts provided. Make sure you check the terms and conditions thoroughly if you’re considering getting a ZA Bank business account.

Here are some of the key fees you need to know about - check out the full details online⁶:

ServiceZA Bank Business Customer Fees⁶
Account opening feeHKD1,000
Monthly fee for internet bankingHKD100
CHATS payments to local banks
  • HKD50 handling fee + correspondent bank charges as applicable + HKD150 to use the standard payment form
  • Inward CHATS payments - HKD15
FPS Payments
  • Outward payments in HKD or CNY - HKD/CNY 3 fee for transfer values under HKD1,000,000 or CNY1,000,000;
  • HKD/CNY 15 fee for higher values
  • Non merchant inward FPS payments - no fee
  • Merchant inward FPS payments - fee from HKD/CNY0.5 to HKD/CNY10 depending on the value of the payment
Telegraphic transfer fees
  • HKD100 handling fee + the higher of HKD250 or correspondent bank charges + HKD150 to use the standard payment form
  • Inward telegraphic transfer - HKD50

ZA Bank international transfer: is it possible?

At present ZA Bank can not support international transfers³. Additional features will be added in time, but at the moment only local payments are available.

If you want to send money overseas you’ll need a different option. The good news is that there are smart, modern online providers which support low cost, secure international payments, like Wise .

All currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markup, for just a low transparent fee. You’ll be able to hold dozens of different currencies in your account, receive fee free payments from around the world, and send and spend your money on the go via the Wise app.

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

Before you decide which provider to use to send a payment overseas, you’ll want to know what fees and charges are applied to your transfer.

Firstly, there will be an upfront transfer charge, which may be called a handling fee. You may also have to pay extra charges which are related to use of the SWIFT network. These fees are usually described as correspondent bank fees, and are paid to other banks involved in the process of getting your money where it needs to go.

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to check the exchange rate used to see if any extra charge has been added there. Adding an exchange rate markup is not unusual - but it can push up the cost of sending money overseas, meaning your recipient gets less in the end. Compare the exchange rate you’re offered by your chosen provider against the mid-market exchange rate which you can get from Google, to spot any sneaky fees added here.

The good news is that not all providers add a markup to the exchange rate they offer customers. Check out Transferwise for straightforward payments which use the mid-market rate and simple, transparent fees.

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

Sending money overseas is convenient - and costs less - with Wise. When you’re choosing the best way to make your international payment, compare the costs and convenience of Wise against your regular bank.

You can use Wise to make a one off international payment:

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Charges are low and transparent so you’ll always know exactly what your recipient will get in their account before you confirm your payment. There are no SWIFT charges, and no hidden exchange rate fees.

ZA Bank Hong Kong contact - How to get in touch

To get in touch with ZA Bank, use one of the following contact routes:

  • Call on +852 3665 3665
  • Email
  • Or use Facebook or LinkedIn to connect using social media

Virtual banking is a great option for people looking for convenient, secure ways to manage their money. Check out the options from ZA Bank, and also take a look at the smart low cost ways to hold, send and spend foreign currencies with Wise, to see if you can save.

Sources used in the article:

  1. Asian Banking and Finance - Meet ZA Bank
  2. Hong Kong Monetary Authority - Authorization of Virtual Banks
  3. ZA Bank - FAQ
  4. ZA Bank - Rates list
  5. ZA Bank - Fees and Charges Guide, page 2
  6. ZA Bank - Business Banking Tariff, pages 1,2 and 3

Sources last checked on 09-September 2020.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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