Hong Kong offers a personal bank account and a corporate bank account for both locals and non-residents. Each type of account requires different sets of documents for bank account setup.
Hong Kong uses a three-tier banking system authorized by the HKMA, comprising Licensed Banks, Restricted License banks, and Deposit-taking companies.
You can open a Hong Kong bank account remotely by using the 'branch application' option or using the virtual bank option to complete your application entirely online.
As one of the world's financial hubs, Hong Kong offers an incredibly diverse culture with many business opportunities.
A report in 2023 shows a 1.5% increase in the cash flow of HK$ deposits for corporates in Hong Kong, indicating how the country maintains its strength in the financial world of business.
Whether you plan to visit the city or wish to do business in Hong Kong, the country offers a wide range of local and international banks, no matter if you are a non-resident.
With benefits such as tax-free interest, a solid economy, free international capital transfers, and more, this article will explore the requirements for opening a bank account in Hong Kong, the types of accounts, and how the banking system works.
The guide also covers how to open a bank account online and an alternative solution for your business in Hong Kong.
How to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong
Before opening a bank account, there are some key factors and requirements you should know about.
Let's learn more about the types of bank accounts you can open in Hong Kong.
There are two types of bank accounts you can open in Hong Kong: a personal bank account and a corporate bank account.
Let's take a closer look at some of the requirements you need to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
Documents Required to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong
Depending on which type of account you choose to open, you'll be given an application form to enter the required details.
Thus, there are several documents and proofs you need to provide to complete the verification process. The following documents required to open a bank account in Hong Kong include:
Personal Bank Account
- An identity card (HK ID) or a passport (for a non-resident)
- Travel documents
- Proof of address
Some banks may require additional information apart from the primary requirements mentioned above. However, you'll be informed regarding its usage and further evaluation by the bank.
Corporate Bank Account
- Incorporation documents, including but not limited to Business Registration Certificate, Article of Association, Record of Registration, and Partnership Agreement.
- Registered office address (current business operation address)
- Details of company structure, such as beneficial owner identification document
- Bank statements (from recent 6 months) and bank reference letter (dated in 3 months)
Likewise, some banks may require additional information for further evaluation or risk assessments, such as applicant background checks. You will also need to state your purpose for using a corporate bank account and the nature of your business activities and how it operates.
Although these requirements are among the primary standards for banks in Hong Kong, keep in mind that there can also be other additional verifications as each bank's regulations vary.
🏭 Are you planning to set up an offshore bank account but not sure which country is best for your business? See the list of the top 10 countries to open an offshore bank account in 2023.
What if My Application Is Rejected?
In cases where your application is rejected, your bank of choice should provide reasons for why your attempt to open a bank account is unsuccessful.
You can always request your bank to re-examine your application, however, ensure you check the Bank Review Mechanism before making the request.
Which Banks Should I Choose in Hong Kong?
As there are many banks in Hong Kong, you must choose the right bank to open your account with.
According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), a corporation must be granted a license to be considered a bank.
Each bank offers different packages for both personal and corporate accounts. Here are some popular banks in Hong Kong to consider:
Can I Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong as a Non-Resident?
Yes, as a non-resident in Hong Kong, you can open a bank account. However, depending on the country that you're from, there can be additional requirements in the verification process compared to residents with HKID cards.
For EU member state, American, or Australian residents, opening a bank account in Hong Kong isn't complex compared to residents of other countries, which can take up to two weeks in processing time.
Essentially, each bank has its own set of requirements and procedures, so it would be ideal for you to conduct your research on a specific bank you would like to open before approaching them.
🏦 Read more: Check out the complete list of the best banks to use in Hong Kong in 2023
How Does the Banking System in Hong Kong Work?
The Hong Kong banking system maintains a three-tier system for any licensed corporations that are granted status as deposit-taking institutions.
The three-tier system consists of:
- Licensed Banks: This type of bank has no restriction on using the word "bank" and can provide current and savings accounts while maintaining any size of deposits and collecting checks drawn and paid in by customers.
- Restricted License Banks: This is an institution that can take any maturity deposits of HK$500,000 and above while being able to engage in merchant banking and capital market activities.
- Deposit-taking companies: These companies are often owned by or associated with banks. They engage in consumer finance, commercial lending, and securities while being able to take any maturity deposits of HK$100,000 and above within at least three months of the original term of maturity.
The HKMA sets out strict anti-money laundering regulations for all of its banking corporations, and thus Hong Kong banks need to verify all information and check due diligence before granting any customers approval.
Bank Fees & Charges
Opening a bank account in Hong Kong comes with fees, and for some banks, you will be required to make initial deposits.
Each bank can offer different fee structures, and some may or may not have additional charges for a certain service. Be sure to check with the bank of your choice for these components before setting up an account.
Some of the bank's fees may include:
- Initial deposit: HK$10,000–50,000
- Minimum balance: HK$50,000–500,000 (most banks offer a monthly charge of HK$200 if you cannot meet their minimum requirement).
- Processing fee: from as low as HK$200 up to HK$10,000
- Credit card: administration fee of HK$ 300 or more. For international credit card orders, prices can range from HK$30,000 to HK$50,000 (this may vary depending on your bank of choice).
- Foreign transfer fee: HK$15–120
- Closure fee: HK$200 (when closed within 3 months of opening). Early fee closures may vary.
Note that the above is a reference to the types of deposits and amounts most banks in Hong Kong offer. This may vary depending on your choice of bank.
Steps to Opening a Hong Kong Bank Account
- Collect all required documents: Check with the specific bank you choose, and make sure to prepare the necessary documents you need to deliver to open an account.
- Submit your documents: Once all the documents are prepared, submit your documents to the bank with the representative you are in contact with, or see if your bank accepts online document submissions.
- Onboarding (pre-approval) process: Your chosen bank should notify you of the application's progress. You may be asked to meet with a bank officer for additional verification, such as for KYC obligations, proof of business activities, etc.
- Bank account activation: This should be the final step before acquiring your Hong Kong bank account, where you will be asked to activate your account accordingly before using it.
Depending on your bank of choice, the steps outlined above may vary and normally take up to 15 working days.
🔍 Looking to open a business bank account? See the list of the best business accounts in 2023.
How to Open a Bank Account Online
Online bank account opening has become increasingly demanding, and for this reason, Hong Kong also offers some ways in which you can open a bank account online.
There are two ways in which you can open a bank account online.
The first is through the traditional way of opening a bank account remotely, which is known as setting up a branch application, while another way is to open them entirely online through digital banking options.
This first way is not an entirely online option, but it is important to know in the event you run into any difficulties or decide that you prefer this method over the completely online technique.
Using the branch application method, you can visit the bank of your choice that is established and has a branch in Hong Kong.
For instance, if you're a non-resident who chooses to set up your bank account with HSBC, you can prepare the required documents and complete an application in your home country.
Finally, when you arrive in Hong Kong, all you need to do is visit one of the branches of HSBC and verify your identity. Oftentimes, this process simplifies the complexity of setting up an account as a foreigner; however, before your account is set up, it may take up to 30 days.
Virtual banks, also known as neobanks, offer a more flexible approach to setting up a bank account.
Virtual banks are established mostly by fintech companies and offer a safe option for online banking. They offer customers top-notch securities and all of their services entirely online.
With virtual banks, you are usually prompted with instructions within an application or a web app to set up your bank account. There are verification procedures similar to the traditional way of setting up a bank account, such as the KYC (Know-Your-Client) process.
📖 Read more: Explore the difference between virtual banks and traditional banks
Alternative Solution: Statrys Business Account
If you're in the market 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.
Here are some of the features a Statrys business account offers:
- Multi-currency account with 11 major currencies in a single account number
- Mastercard® payment card to manage expenses and top-ups
- Manage your FX rates and risks with advice from an expert
- Support from a dedicated account manager
Often, these accounts are active quickly, and the process has a lot of benefits that make everything easy since they do the majority of the work for you.
Setting up your business account is also quick and easy, and you can get approval in less than 3 business days.
Why should I open a bank account in Hong Kong?
Is it difficult to open a bank account in Hong Kong remotely?
Can I open a bank account online in Hong Kong?
Which bank account is the best to open in Hong Kong?