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. It has excellent business opportunities and incredible places, where you do not want to miss a different lifestyle. If you wish to move to Hong Kong as a student, investor, worker or retiree, consider opening a bank account so that you have money to cater for your activities. This is a guide on how to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
Banks in Hong Kong
- Hong Kong has licensed banks, restricted licence banks and deposit-taking companies supervised by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).
- Hong Kong is one of the top five financial centres in the world.
- Hong Kong has one of the highest concentrations of banking institutions in the world, with 70 of the largest 100 banks in the world having an operation in Hong Kong.
- There are over 154 licensed banks, 19 restricted licence banks and 17 deposit-taking companies in business.
Documents Necessary When Opening a Bank Account
You need to submit the following documents when opening an account in Hong Kong:
- Hong Kong ID or Passport
- Proof of address. You can use a utility bill or a bank statement
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. Some banks require you to have a Hong Kong ID card, which is used to access public services and to get immigration clearance.
Opening a Bank Account Remotely in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has very stringent measures to curb money laundering. For this reason, it is challenging to open an account online. You cannot open your first account online. However, once you have opened the first account and is running, you can use internet banking to open other different accounts. The card is given to anyone wishing to stay for over 180 days in Hong Kong and is over 11 years old.
Opening a Bank Account as a Non-Resident in Hong Kong
You can open a bank account as a non-resident. As an EU, American or Australian resident, you get a bank account immediately. For residents from other countries, opening a bank account may take up to two weeks. It takes longer due to security checks.
Best Banks in Hong Kong
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 is an international bank with branches in Hong Kong. They offer current, savings accounts and online banking. They have many ATMs across Hong Kong while they also offer debit cards. They provide personal installment loans at a monthly rate of 0.13% and you can borrow up to twelve times your monthly salary. Their accounts can handle different currencies.
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.
Hang Seng is a subsidiary of the HSBC group and has similar services and products with HSBC. They have a Green Banking account, a product specifically for students. The account does not charge monthly fees. You get a free credit card which you can use for up to three years after you graduate. With the account, you also get protection from bounced cheques for up to HKD 3,500 while you also get free foreign withdrawals for an amount up to US$1,000 daily.
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
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.
Alternative to Traditional Banking in Hong Kong
Fintech Startup Neat
- Neat is not a bank but works with ePayLinks Technology Co., Limited. (“ePayLinks”). The Neat Card is issued by ePayLinks Technology Co. Ltd (“ePayLinks”), an authorised MasterCard prepaid card issuer in Hong Kong.
- Its “Neat Business” service lets companies register for a Hong Kong bank account without needing to go to a physical branch, even if the company is based overseas.
Neat is a fintech startup that offers online services as an alternative to traditional banking. The startup offers Neat business account. The account is usually for startups and SMEs. With Neat business account, you can get a MasterCard, which you can use to withdraw from ATMs. The account is very secure and has won an award from the Hong Kong government from its high-security features. The account can handle multiple currencies and does not charge for currency conversion. However, the account is not available in all countries. You can check out for Neat’s restricted countries.
Bank Charges in Hong Kong
Most of the banks have a monthly maintenance fee every month. 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. Withdrawing money from another bank’s ATM usually costs around HKD 15 and 20 for every withdrawal.
International Money Transfer
If you wish to send money across the borders, most banks charge between HKD 115 and HKD 120. However, some banks, such as Citibank, offer free international money transfer. 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 TransferWise Borderless Account that is cheaper compared to banks since it offers real-time exchange rates.
Alternatively, you can use a virtual bank account to send money abroad and to make payments.