If you wish to move to Hong Kong as a student, investor, worker or retiree, consider opening a bank account in Hong Kong so that you can conveniently access your money to cater for your needs. You don’t have to be a citizen or a permanent resident to open a bank account in Hong Kong. This article will guide you through the process of opening a bank account in Hong Kong as well as opening a Hong Kong bank account online from overseas.
Hong Kong is the right place to be if you want to experience life in Asia. It is the right place for those who want to experience a different lifestyle from that of the West or any other place. It has excellent business opportunities, incredible places and efficient banking system.
Banking in Hong Kong can be more difficult for Americans than for citizens of other countries. This is due to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which requires banks to report information about American account holders to the US government. As a result, banks in Hong Kong may require additional paperwork and documentation from American customers.
Documents Needed to Open Hong Kong Bank Account for Foreigners
- Passport with Hong Kong visa or Hong Kong ID (you need a Hong Kong ID card if you are above 11 years old and you plan on staying for more than 180 days)
- Residential address (utility bill, government correspondence, letter from employer, etc)
- Proof of employment (source of your income)
- Tax residency and ID number
- Bank reference letter from your home country (optional)
If you are employed, you need to show proof of employment contract and if you are a student, you need to show an admission letter from the school.
Hong Kong ID card: To get your free Hong Kong ID, book an appointment with the Registration Of Persons Office. Take your passport, application form and 2 passport-sized photos with you. Apart from using your Hong Kong identity card for opening a bank account, you can use it for immigration clearance and public services such as a library card and public transport.
Hong Kong Bank Account From Abroad or as a Foreigner
Although Hong Kong is a global financial hub with a strong banking system, it can be challenging to open a bank account in Hong Kong from abroad, especially for non-resident foreigners. This is due to the fact that Hong Kong has stringent measures to curb money laundering.
Despite the challenges, there are a few ways to open a bank account in Hong Kong from abroad as a non-resident foreigner. One option is to open an account online with a bank that allows non-resident account holders, such as HSBC. Another option is to visit a Hong Kong branch of a bank that you already have an account with in your home country.
If you are a high-net-worth individual or you are opening a business account, you may be able to open a private bank account. Private bank accounts typically have less stringent requirements and offer more personalized services.
If you are a foreign student in Hong Kong, many universities have bank branches on campus specifically for students. It is easier to open an account at a bank that has a relationship with your school, as they will be more familiar with the needs of international students.
Best Banks in Hong Kong for Foreigners
There are many local and international banks you can open an account within Hong Kong. Open an account with the bank that is convenient for you. Consider the products it offers, the location of its branches and charges. Most banks offer current, savings and investment accounts. Other banks provide cashback, rewards and loans.
HSBC Hong Kong
If you are an Indian citizen who is planning to move to Hong Kong, HSBC India offers Non Resident Indians (NRIs) banking services specifically tailored to Indians living and working in Hong Kong.
HSBC, an international bank with branches in Hong Kong, offers a variety of banking services, including current and savings accounts, online banking, debit and credit cards, and personal installment loans. It has the highest ATM coverage and ATMs across Hong Kong can handle different currencies. PayMe, its mobile payment service, is popular for its fast and direct payments to friends, family, and businesses.
HSBC One is a multicurrency account that lets you spend and save in 12 major currencies with just one account. If you’re from a select country, including the UK, US, Singapore, or Australia, and have a HSBC account in your country, you can open a HK HSBC account even before you have a work visa or residence permit.
HSBC Hong Kong also lets you open an online account with the HSBC HK app for instant approval, even if you have a Hong Kong ID (HKID) but an address in your home country. To open an online account, download the HSBC HK app and provide the required information, including your HKID or overseas passport. Overseas passport types supported include Australia, Belgium, Canada, India, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, United Kingdom, USA, and Vietnam.
HSBC typically require extensive documentation and a lengthy verification process for new account openings.
Standard Chartered Hong Kong
Standard Chartered is also an international bank with its branches in Hong Kong. They give their customers rewards in the form of cash. They have integrated all their accounts such that their customers can manage their accounts from one place. They offer ATM cards with the ability to handle dual currency. Their products Salary BonusPack provides a high interest rate of 1% annually compared to the basic savings account, while interest is 0.01% annually. You get your salary credited to your account on the same day you get paid.
Standard Chartered Bank offers one of the easiest account opening processes in Hong Kong, requiring only your HKID and passport in most cases. You can even get your debit card on the same day.
Hang Seng Hong Kong
Hang Seng, a subsidiary of the HSBC group, is another bank that is popular with foreigners. Moreover, it offers a Green Banking account specifically for students. The account has no monthly fees, a free credit card that can be used for up to three years after graduation, protection from bounced cheques for up to HKD 3,500, and free foreign withdrawals for up to US$1,000 daily.
To open a Hang Seng account, you must visit a branch in person. If you book an appointment in advance, your account can be opened within the same session and you will receive a debit card that you can use immediately. The debit card will not have your name on it, but it will have your account number.
Citibank Hong Kong
Citibank is another international bank with its ranches in Hong Kong. It is the most accessible account to open while abroad. If you are a Citigold customer in your home country, you get the same status in Hong Kong and enjoy free of charge account. The bank also has a candid website and online banking serves. When you open a payroll account, you will be charged a flat rate of 0.08% while you can enjoy free withdrawals. Besides, you can also enjoy the Global-View of Accounts. It is an online service that links all your accounts so that you can manage them from a common location.
Bank of China Hong Kong
Bank of China is a better option if you have significant dealings in China since they offer the best Chinese banking services. Their cards are linked to Jetco and Union Pay, which have many ATMs worldwide, making it cheaper to withdraw anywhere in the world. The card also acts as a debit card, which you can use to shop in supermarkets. It does not have handling fees.
Best Online Banks in Hong Kong for Foreigners
Like many other countries, Hong Kong has a growing number of online banks. These digital banks offer a convenient and affordable way to manage your finances, without the need to visit a physical branch.
There are two main types of online banks in Hong Kong: online banks or virtual banks and money service operators (MSOs). Virtual banks are fully licensed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and offer a full range of banking services, including savings accounts, loans, and credit cards. MSOs offer a more limited range of banking services, such as money transfers and foreign exchange. They are not regulated by the HKMA, but they are required to comply with other financial regulations.
Neat Commerce is a Hong Kong-based fintech that offers business current account for entrepreneurs, SMEs, startups and accounts for eCommerce businesses. Neat allows you to create multicurrency accounts in HKD, USD, Euro and GBP for your business, issue corporate expense cards to staff, make and receive SEPA payments and manage your cashflow from a single dashboard to save you time and money. You can also integrate with global platforms like Amazon, Stripe, Shopify and Paypal.
Opening a Hong Kong account from abroad is possible because you can register a company in Hong Kong with Neat Commerce and qualify for Neat business account and corporate Visa cards.
Neat account is very secure and has won an award from the Hong Kong government from its high-security features. Being a multicurrency account, it does not charge for currency conversion. However, the account is not available in all countries. You can check out for Neat’s supported countries.
Statrys Hong Kong
You can open a business bank account in Hong Kong remotely with Statrys. The fintech offers a virtual multi-currency accounts for SMEs, Mastercard, European IBAN accounts in Hong Kong. The EURO IBAN allows businesses in Hong Kong to make and receive Euro payments locally without transfer fees. The online account also offers ecommerce banking solution to businesses to link global platforms like Amazon, Stripe, and PayPal to Statrys account, and receive cross-border payments.
SMEs in Hong Kong can easily make and receive payments globally, deliver payment cards to key employees, and maintain a business multicurrency account with 11 currencies, including HKD, EUR, USD, CNY, GBP, SGD, AUD, JPY, NZD, CHF AND CAD.
If you want to set up a business account in Hong Kong completely online without having to travel anywhere in person, a Statrys business account might be the right choice for you.
Airwallex offers a convenient business account for businesses registered in Hong Kong. With Airwallex, you can open a USD account in Hong Kong and receive USD payments directly into your account with dedicated US account and routing numbers. In addition to the USD account, Airwallex also supports other foreign currencies, including GBP, AUD, EUR, HKD, CAD, JPY, CNY, SGD, NZD, and CHF. You can also open multiple foreign currency accounts with no monthly fees.
Other online banks in Hong Kong are:
Airstar Bank is a virtual bank in Hong Kong that allows visitors to open an account via mobile phone in a few minutes. Visitors are required to be physically present in Hong Kong at the time of account opening application.
Bank Charges in Hong Kong
Hong Kong bank fees depend on the bank. Most banks in Hong Kong charge a monthly account fee, which is typically waived if you maintain a minimum balance in your account. This fee can range from a few dollars to over HKD100 per month, depending on the type of account you have and the bank you are with. Some banks also have a requirement that you maintain a minimum account balance of up to HKD 10,000. In case you fail to maintain the minimum balance, you are charged a fee on top of the monthly fee.
Banks in Hong Kong also charge fees for certain types of transactions, such as ATM withdrawals, wire transfers, and check deposits. These fees can vary depending on the type of transaction, the amount of money involved, and the bank you are with. Withdrawing money from another bank’s ATM usually costs around HKD 15 and 20 for every withdrawal. Wire transfers can cost anywhere from HKD100 to HKD500, depending on the destination country and the amount of money being transferred.
International Money Transfer
If you wish to send money across the borders, most banks charge between HKD 115 and HKD 120. However, some banks may offer free international money transfer packages. However, most of the banks do not provide real-time exchange rates. Thereby, you will find out that you will be losing some money along the way. You can try Wise that is cheaper compared to banks since it offers real-time exchange rates with no markups.
Money transfer services you can use to send money to Hong Kong or to send money from Hong Kong include: