How To Open Bank Account In Hong Kong

Learn in this article how to open a bank account in Hong Kong. Hong Kong permits everybody to open a bank account, whether a resident or non as well.

Open Bank Account In Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a reputation as a fast-paced city, but the formality of opening a bank account in Hong Kong can seem slow and old-fashioned for many expats. Online banking isn’t that fast and a visit to a branch can be required to complete proceedings. But Rather, skip the DIY approach and head straight to a branch with your documents.

Hong Kong has a mix of international and local players. If you need to shift funds between countries choosing a bank that also operates in your home country can reduce costs associated with transfers and exchange rates. Popular banks among expats include Citibank, HSBC and Standard Chartered, and it’s also worth considering Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and DBS.

Consider checking the below popular banks among expats:

You may also consider:

Most common personal banking accounts in Hong Kong include checking, savings and multi-currency accounts. Credit cards can be linked to an account, as can an EPS card, which acts like a debit card. View the charges on credit cards, which can be high, and do not neglect to order a chequebook, since these are still frequently requested forms of payment in Hong Kong.

Without any doubt, Hong Kong is among the most reputed jurisdictions in world wide. It is a major international financial mecca integrated by its sophisticated network of banks and effectively transparent regulations.

The reputation of banks in Hong Kong are well recognized. As reported by HKMA, Hong Kong has had more than 70 of the largest 100 banks in the world, with nearly 30 multinational banks establishing their regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

Thanks to its reputation, Hong Kong has become one of the top pick offshore banking jurisdictions for foreigners. Having said that, notwithstanding, opening a bank account in Hong Kong for foreigners is often attached to some challenges.

So many expats and non-residents as well, especially those with newly incorporated companies often face some difficulties when they are going to open a bank account here. Some common problems are:

  • Due diligence procedure in Hong Kong
  • In-person appointments are often compulsory
  • The company’s profile significantly affects the bank account opening procedure
  • Long processing time for the bank’s approval since banks in Hong Kong are extremely protective of their financial services

In addition to the above, each bank can apply different criteria in evaluating the appropriateness of your case.

Note: Applicants can also be denied access to opening accounts with Hong Kong banks due to their nationality, business activities, and so on.

Before we get to how to open a bank account in Hong Kong, lets consider checking out some of the related articles.

How to open a bank account in Hong Kong

There are many things that should be taken into consideration if you are to open your bank account, especially in reputed offshore banking countries like Hong Kong or Singapore. Below are some key highlights in relation to Hong Kong bank account opening that you need to know:

Opening Hong Kong bank accounts for foreigners

Hong Kong permits everybody to open a bank account, without regarding whether there are Hong Kong residents or non-residents. Note, however, that foreigners opening a bank account in Hong Kong may be subject to more additional requirements for verification/identification purposes, as compared to that for a local resident.

Alternatives for opening a bank account in Hong Kong

Based on the perspective of an account holder, you may choose:

  • Personal bank account type: Applicable for any individual person who wishes to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
  • Corporate bank account type: Applicable for Hong Kong limited companies or overseas companies in Hong Kong.

Procedure to open a corporate bank account in Hong Kong

To open a bank account is demonstrated in the four-step process as below:

  • Firstly, Collect required documents (*)
  • Secondly, Submit documents
  • Thirdly, Process on-boarding/Have a meeting with the bank officer
  • Lastly, Activate bank account

Note that requirements for this process may be varied, depending on the choice of your bank.

Setting a corporate bank account is a bit more difficult than that for the basic account.

Additionally, to knowing the KYC obligations, non-resident enterprises are required to attach additional documents like business proof. 

Moreover, all directors, beneficial owners, and shareholders with no less than 10% or other pre-specified rates of the company shares must attend the interview with the representative of the bank for opening a Hong Kong bank account.

Each bank may set out certain requirements for non-residents to set up a bank account in Hong Kong. However, the complete account opening process in Hong Kong can normally take up to 15 working days.

Hong Kong set out strict anti-money laundering regulations. Under the guidance of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and in line with international best practice, all Hong Kong banks need to check due diligence on both new and existing customers before granting approval.

Required documents for opening a bank account in Hong Kong

The necessary documents that personal and business customers need to prepare to open a bank account in Hong Kong are as the followings:

Person bank account

  • Account application forms
  • Passport or HK ID card
  • Proof of address
  • Bank statements in the most recent 6 months
  • Bank reference letter dated in 3 months
  • CV
  • Additional documents requested by the bank

Corporate bank account

  • Account application forms
  • Passports of all members
  • Proof of residency of all members
  • Bank statements in the most recent 6 months
  • Bank reference letter dated in 3 months
  • Company documents – i.e., Business Registration Certificate with CR, Certificate of Incorporation with IRD, Articles of Association, and so on and so forth.
  • A detailed business plan
  • Proof of business – i.e., contracts, supplier invoices, client payments, website, etc. (applicable for companies already active over 6 months)

Open a bank account in Hong Kong remotely

Some actually say foreigners cannot open a bank account remotely in this financial hub – Hong Kong.

In real terms, overseas customers may have several ways to open bank accounts in Hong Kong. But the in-person visit requirement for opening a Hong Kong bank account creates difficulty and inconvenience for foreigners. All applicants (and relevant company directors) wishing to open a bank account in Hong Kong must be present for the application interview in Hong Kong.

Having said that, opening a bank account remotely is still possible with the following solutions:

  • Branch application

Non-residents can opt for “branch application” as one viable solution to minimize the complexity. They can find the international bank with a foothold in Hong Kong (HSBC for instance).

Therefore, they can visit the bank right in their home country to fulfill all the needed paperwork before arriving in Hong Kong to complete the final steps for the opening process. Take note that only some banks provide this alternatives, and the individual branch has its own policy regarding this matter. So you should better consult your desired bank or a trusted banking introducer to know about this alternative at your nearest bank’s branch.

  • Digital account opening

What actually makes the digital accounts, that is Neat account, really stand out for overseas customers is the fact that it avows remote registration for account opening. Modern technologies would be effectively utilized in order to streamline the traditional process and everything completely done online.

During COVID-19, some Hong Kong banks allow businesses to open their corporate bank account without a direct presence in Hong Kong. Still, the case may vary depending on each bank’s policy at that time and your business circumstances as well.

Whatever the solution you may choose for your Hong Kong bank account opening, it is advisable that you should engage a professional service provider in Hong Kong who will enable them to get everything done in advance. Without any doubt, the local knowledgeable financial advisors will always know the rules for how to open a bank account in Hong Kong in the most effective method.

Open offshore bank accounts for Hong Kong companies

If you plan on forming a company in Hong Kong and wondering about the difficulty of opening a bank account there, you are recommended to think of offshore bank accounts.

Take Note: Opening a bank account is one of the key requirements for incorporated companies in Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong companies are NOT compulsory to own a corporate bank account in Hong Kong. Instead, they can register a bank account in other countries.

What are the costs associated with Hong Kong bank accounts?

Depending on your bank, you may be faced with a number of fees and charges. You should go through your bank’s terms and conditions, so you’ll know what fees they charge and whether you can avoid them at all.

Maintenance and minimum balance fees

Most banks charge a monthly fee, called a maintenance fee.

Also, you’ll need a minimum balance to to open your account (usually around HKD 10,000). Your balance must always remain above this minimum, as otherwise a fee will be charged on top of your monthly maintenance costs.


Cheques are still widely used in Hong Kong, so it’s worth getting a cheque book when you open a new account.

That which will also incur fees, including a delivery charge for new cheque books (which is waived if you give a Hong Kong address).

Early closure fees

Some banks may also charge an early closure fee if you close your account before a given time period expires.

Early closure fees are normally in the region of HKD200.

ATM fees

Banks won’t charge you to use their own ATMs. Customers with Citibank and BOC can also use Jetco ATMs free of charge.

Using another bank’s ATM will usually cost between HKD15 and 20 per transaction.

International transfer fees

International transfer fees vary between banks, but most will charge between HKD115 and HKD120 per transfer between different bank groups.

Meanwhile some banks, such as Citibank, do offer free international transfers if your account is with the same banking group, you’ll still need to watch out, as you might be getting an unfavourable exchange rate.

Check out the below related articles:

Conclusion on How to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the safest and easiest places for banking. Dwelling a bank account in Hong Kong remains very attractive, especially to a non-resident foreigner. You will not go wrong with a Hong Bank account.

However, you need to know the rules that apply to operating a Hong Kong bank account and be able to comply with them to ensure a hitch-free experience. A professional and knowledgeable financial advisor can always help you in this regard.

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