ZA International group just launched Hong Kong’s first virtual banking service offering 5-6% P.A. on initial deposits. This service is the first virtual bank to be licensed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). This coveted license to the group over 2 years to obtain, with initial announcement dating back to 2019.
High Interest Rates for Everyone
The key advantage of ZA bank is above average interest rates. Currently in Hong Kong, top banks such as HSBC and Standard Chartered are offering less than 2% PA interest rates for new new deposits. ZA Bank is promising to triple that with 5-6% PA deposits for select first time users.
“This is more of a gimmick, which shouldn’t become a norm,”Terry Siu, treasurer at CMB Wing Lung Bank
Competitor banks are fighting back, calling the high interest rate “unsustainable” and “more of a gimmick“. However this is not preventing other competitors from launching, with chinese giants “Ant Finaicial” (Alibaba Group) and Tencent Holders being granted licences to operate virtual banks this year.
Competition to get higher rates
In order to get the highest interest rates, ZA bank is requiring users to pre-register at https://za.group. On top of this, registrants are promoted to refer family and friends to the service. Referral tracking is done via registration links and this will improve the priority of the user.
Currently there is a maximum deposit limit of 200,000 HKD for individual account holders. There is no official statement as to when this balance restriction will be limited or if it can be increased.
Anti Money Laundering and Financial Crime Prevention
As a licensed entity, ZA Bank will have extensive Financial Crime prevention procedures. This will include identity verification and even interviews.
Bitcoin Friendly Bank?
With current traditional banks in Hong Kong hostile to virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, will virtual banks be more friendly? Only time will tell.