Hong Kong

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Financial Services in Hong Kong

If you are wondering how to manage monetary matters overseas, don’t worry: There are plenty of banks in Hong Kong that offer financial services for expats. Our guide introduces the banking sector and gives advice on various services, from opening accounts to avoiding fees.
Many international banks offer financial services to expats in Hong Kong.

All banks in Hong Kong offer you the services you would generally expect from institutions with an international standing. Both product information and account statements are usually available in English or Chinese.

Services you get at about any bank include:

  • savings and current accounts
  • time deposit accounts
  • foreign currency accounts
  • standing orders
  • money transfers
  • credit
  • currency exchange (sometimes free of charge for account holders)
  • direct debit
  • investment advice
  • insurance services

Common Services

Telephone banking and online banking are readily available at most Hong Kong banks; they are usually free of charge. Lots of telephone services operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also use online and telephone banking to pay utility bills or government fines. Mobile banking services are becoming more and more popular, too – just ask your bank of choice for further details.

Moreover, you can sign up with the local PPS 24-hour service to pay your bills by Internet or phone. To become a customer, you need to register at one of the PPS terminals available all over Hong Kong. For more information, check the PPS website.

There is a minor drawback to telephone and online banking in Hong Kong: Money transfers are not free of charge. Normally, you can only transfer money without paying fees if the recipient has an account with the same bank as the sender. This is the main reason why lots of expats start using checks while living in Hong Kong.

Unlike in many other countries, checks are still a commonly used method of payment in Hong Kong, even between different companies. You normally receive a check booklet for your account from your bank. There are usually no fees for using or depositing checks in Hong Kong. However, checks are not an accepted method of payment in retail.

ATMs are located all over the city. Often, they can be used for more than just withdrawing cash, for example, for paying bills and depositing checks or cash.

There are three ATM networks in Hong Kong: ETC (HSBC and Hang Seng Bank), JETCO (all other banks), and AEON. Using an ATM is free of charge if you withdraw from an ATM whose network your own bank belongs to. Otherwise, you pay a service charge.

Most banks also charge other service fees, such as for closing an account, keeping an inactive account with less than a certain lump sum, and changing standing orders. The fee the bank charges you for overdrawing your account largely depends on the type of account you hold.

Opening a Bank Account

The specific criteria you have to fulfill for opening a bank account in Hong Kong vary from bank to bank. Usually, the documents needed to open a savings account or current account include the following:

  • your Hong Kong Identity Card or a valid passport
  • proof of address in Hong Kong or your home country (You do not have to be a Hong Kong resident to open a bank account in Hong Kong!)
  • a completed application form

The fee for a Hong Kong bank account generally depends on the type of account you hold, as well as your regular income or the average balance you have in your account. Some accounts might require minimum deposits.

Once you open a savings account or current account at a Hong Kong bank, you will receive a debit card. You can use the debit card to withdraw money from your bank network’s ATMs, as well as for shopping in Hong Kong's supermarkets and department stores.

You should not have any trouble getting a credit card from any bank in Hong Kong. However, there might be different requirements regarding your credentials and annual salary for various types of cards and credit limits.

Generally speaking, you need to provide the following information when applying for a credit card:

  • your Hong Kong Identity Card or your passport
  • proof of address in Hong Kong
  • proof of salary or your salary statements from the last several months

For more information on using debit cards and credit cards, please check our guide on payment methods in Hong Kong.

 

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.