So, you’ve decided to pack up your life and move to Hong Kong.
Maybe it’s for a job, maybe it’s for a change of scenery.
No matter what the reason is, you’re going to have to learn an entirely new culture.
From food to fashion to how to manage your money.
Before you get overwhelmed, remember that this is an exciting time and that you’re making the right decision.
Hong Kong has become a major destination for foreign internationals in recent years.
Between the low tax rates and high standards of living, people around the world are looking to Hong Kong for a new place to live.
What is the Hong Kong Dollar?
In order to discuss in detail personal banking, we first need to understand the currency in Hong Kong.
The official currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar. One Hong Kong dollar (HKD) is divided into 100 cents.
The Hong Kong dollar has had a constant exchange rate with the US dollar since 1983.
The current rate as of writing up this article is HK$7.80 to US$1.
This is because the Hong Kong Monetary Authority keeps a sizable reserve of HKD and USD and circulates them accordingly.
For any bank account you set up in Hong Kong, it’s important to note that you will have to provide documentation of residence.
This means providing the bank with your Hong Kong ID, a passport, proof of address, and possibly other personal information.
Be prepared once you decide what bank to open an account at and have all of this paperwork on hand.
The personal banking scene in Hong Kong, like the culture itself, is very nuanced.
Like most places, there are pros and cons to the two major banking systems in Hong Kong.
The two major systems are:
There are some key differences in these systems that we will discuss to help you evaluate and decide which option is ideal for your needs in Hong Kong.
The Jetco System
Jetco is an organization of banks that are not affiliated with HSBC or Hang Seng Bank.
It was formed in 1982 by five original banks.
Anyone who is a member of a Jetco system bank can use any Jetco bank or ATM for withdrawals without incurring any type of fee.
The Jetco banks in Hong Kong are (the ones in bold are the original five):
- Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited
- The Bank of East Asia Limited
- Chekiang First Bank Limited
- Shanghai Commercial Bank Limited
- Wing Lung Bank Limited
- Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) Limited
- Bank of Communications Co., Ltd.
- China CITIC Bank International Limited
- China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited
- China Merchants Bank Hong Kong Branch
- Chiyu Banking Corporation Limited
- Chong Hing Bank Limited
- Citibank (Hong Kong) Limited
- CMB Wing Lung Bank Limited
- Dah Sing Bank, Limited
- DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
- Fubon Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited
- Mox Bank Limited
- Nanyang Commercial Bank Limited
- OCBC Wing Hang Bank Limited
- Ping An OneConnect Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
- Public Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
- Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
- WeLab Bank Limited
These banks have created a network where you can withdraw at any of their ATMs if you’re a member of one without any fees.
Jetco also offers its banks and their customer's robust financial technology services.
Jetco ATMs offer cardless withdrawal, money transfers, the ability to pay credit card bills and donate to charities.
Jetco Pay is a new technology that they’re offering where you can transfer money to another person’s bank account via mobile phone.
You can transfer money in either HKD (Hong Kong dollars) or MOP (Macau patacas) all through an app.
The ETC System
The other main banking system in Hong Kong is ETC.
ETC is comprised of HSBC and Hang Seng Bank.
If you choose this system, the only ATMs you can use without a fee have to be either an HSBC ATM or a Hang Seng bank one.
HSCB is a popular choice for foreigners in Hong Kong because it is an international bank.
You have access locally and abroad when you bank with HSCB.
This means you have easy access to foreign currencies when you travel.
Hang Seng Bank offers accounts in a variety of currencies, not just Hong Kong dollars.
Both do hit you with fees for ATM withdrawals at ATMs that aren’t in their network.
Each bank no matter which system it’s in provides various financial services.
When choosing what’s best for you, look at what cards they provide if you can get a mortgage through the bank, and how they handle international transactions.
Banking internationally means that you’ll have to get used to different ways of payment as well.
You may want to carry a certain amount of cash for smaller businesses, but using a card is easier for many people.
Being a financial hub of the world, there are plenty of banking options for you to use.
However, if you plan on trying one out and leaving it if you don’t like it, make sure you ask about cancellation fees as some banks will charge you for closing an account with them.
Back to you
If you're a business looking to get into Hong Kong and start making waves, it's important to know these different ATM systems as it might be super helpful when choosing a business account provider.
ATMs are just the tip of the iceberg where it comes to payments though.
Your business account provider can either hinder or help your business grow too.
Create a business account with Statrys today, and you'll get access to 11 currencies in as little as 48 hours.