How to open a bank account in Hong Kong

How to open a bank account in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an expat hotspot and probably the best way to experience Asia if you want to do so without completely leaving behind the familiarity of western culture. It sits on a category of its own in terms of quality of life, amazing weather (sort of like Honolulu’s), business opportunity and an incredibly diverse expat community.

If you are planning to make it home as a student, recent graduate, seasoned professional or investor,  opening a bank account in Hong Kong is important. Here is our guide on how to open a bank account in Hong Kong.

Documents needed to open a bank account in Hong Kong

These are the documents you are likely to have to provide when opening a bank account in Hong Kong:

  • Passport or Hong Kong ID Card. Click here to see how to get one.
  • Proof of address such as a utility bill, bank statement mailed to you. If you don’t have a local address, you will need proof of address in your country, and even a relative’s address will work.
  • Visa

As you see it is rather simple in terms of necessary documentation. If you are employed, you will need to show your employment contract. As a student, you will need an official student letter from the educational institution which confirms your status as a student.

Can I open a bank account in Hong Kong as a non-resident?

Yes, it is possible to open a bank account in Hong Kong as a non-resident. If you are a resident of a EU member state or if you are American or Australian, you can get a bank account right away. For residents of other countries, the processing time can take up to two weeks to be completed because of security checks needing to be performed taking longer than usual.

Best banks in Hong Kong

There are hundreds of banks established and licensed to operate within Hong Kong’s borders and therefore choosing a bank that meets your needs can be a rather daunting task.  Most banks will offer all the basic features you are accustomed to such as current, savings and investment accounts, rewards and cashback incentives, loans and so on.

These are four of the top banks in hong Kong:

  • HSBC: This is the foreign bank with the largest presence in Hong Kong. They have interesting choices that mix multicurrency current and savings accounts that you manage (and get interest on) from their online banking tool. They have a large presence of ATMs and partner networks for added convenience and accounts come with debit cards.
  • Standard Chartered: they have a full selection of accounts, ATMs are plentiful and so are their branches. They have a special account called the Salary BonusPack which has extra interest rate if your salary is credited in it. Their debit card is dual currency which is a bonus for those needing to operate in more than one currency.
  • Citibank: We reckon this is one of the best options for expats because their online system gives you a global overview of all your accounts you have with them which also means that it is much easier to open an account with them if you are already their customer overseas. Their branches and ATMs are plentiful too because it includes the Jetco network.
  • Bank of China: if you are doing a lot of business with mainland China, perhaps this is your best alternative since they have excellent options for accounts in renminbi. Another advantage of having a bank account with Bank of China is their debit card which works with Jetco and Union Pay which are wide reaching ATM networks with low international fees.

Banking is Hong Kong, generally speaking, is a low cost affair but you still have to pay attention when choosing the bank and the account because there could be additional fees. Besides basic maintenance fees there could also be fees for going below the minimum balance,  fees to activate accounts and other maintenance charges. Also, there could be fees for closing your account early.

Remember also that in Hong Kong, unlike Europe, cheques are still widely used and it is a good idea to get your hands on a chequebook.

The virtual bank account alternative

It is expensive to do international money transfers from Hong Kong

As an expat, you are likely to need to use your bank account for international transactions which means that you will approach your bank to perform the operation. This also means that you will lose a lot of money because banks charge above the mid market rate to cover their high operational costs. For example, if you want to move 10 thousand dollars from Hong Kong to India, you only get about 9000 euros worth of rupees back home which is not a good deal.

With a virtual bank account by B2B Pay, you get 9900 euros worth of rupees to India, saving you about 900 euros! This happens because we charge you a 1% flat fee to move money from Hong Kong to India and the money gets there faster too: usually in about 24 hours. You also get your own European IBAN account that you can use to send and receive money within SEPA and send money to 212 countries in 32 currencies. We have a better deal.

How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.



How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.


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