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Best Savings Accounts in Hong Kong 2021
Find out which savings account could be best for you.
Savings accounts are a fundamental part of your financial life. They’re used for setting aside money for future expenditure or simply to create a rainy day fund. Choosing the best savings account not only brings you closer to your financial goals but could even help you grow this nest egg of cash.
Read on to find out more about savings accounts in Hong Kong, including their features and fees.
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How do savings accounts work in Hong Kong?
A savings account is an account in which you store money that you don’t intend to use for daily expenses. This account receives interest from your bank provider. As of July 2021, interest rates for savings accounts in Hong Kong tend to range from 0.001% to 0.65%.
Once you deposit your money into a savings account in Hong Kong, it may or may not be locked in. Time deposit accounts do not allow you to reap interest rate benefits if you withdraw your savings before a stipulated date. Besides this, there is a range of savings accounts in Hong Kong, including HKD saving accounts, digital bank saving accounts, joint-savings accounts and multi-currency savings accounts.
Each of these accounts come with different eligibility requirements and perks, so be sure to choose the right type that suits your banking needs.
What features and services are offered by savings accounts in Hong Kong?
The features and services offered by savings accounts in Hong Kong may differ across providers and account types, but you can generally expect the following:
- Online and mobile banking options
- Direct debit
- Money transfers
- Standing orders
- Currency exchange
- Credit limits
- Investment advice
- Insurance services
What fees and charges are there?
Opening a savings account in Hong Kong is usually free, but be wary of incurring the following costs while holding a savings account:
- Monthly fees. This is the fee that the bank charges for running the account. Most banks offering savings accounts in Hong Kong waive such fees, but you may experience this with high interest or premium savings accounts.
- Currency conversion fees. If you’re looking to transact in and out of a multi-currency savings account, you might rack up currency conversion costs.
- Below balance fees. Depending on your account type, you may be charged a small fee when your balance dips below the account’s average daily minimum.
- Early account closure fee. You may incur a penalty of at least HK$50 to HK$200 if you close your account within 3 months after opening.
- Paper statement fees. If you require monthly paper statements, it may cost approximately HK$40 to HK$50 (or its equivalent in other currencies) p.a.
- Application fees. Although most savings accounts in Hong Kong don’t charge any registration or debit card delivery fees, do check the fine print to see if these apply.
How will I know which savings account is best for me?
The savings account best for you is one that perfectly suits your banking needs. Here are some factors to consider before making a decision:
- Interest rates. Savings accounts in Hong Kong offer a variety of interest rates, especially when comparing regular savings accounts to time deposit account or digital banking accounts. You may check out interest rates by virtual banks. They usually offer a higher interest rate compared to a traditional bank.
- Access to cash. If you need funds suddenly, you might want to choose an account that allows you to withdraw money early without a fee.
- Fees. Hidden costs can eat away at your savings. Watch out for monthly fees, fall-below fees and conditions that lead to the withholding of interest rate payments.
- Ease of online access. Having reliable access to your finances is essential. If you want the ability to monitor your finances around the clock, you should choose a savings account that comes with intuitive online banking solutions.
- Specific needs. If you have specific banking preferences, such as a desire to use cheque books, or has a specific profile, such as being a foreign expatriate and working in Hong Kong, the best savings account could be one that perfectly meets these needs.
Types of bank accounts in Hong Kong
Banks in Hong Kong offer a wide range of bank accounts to cater for different banking needs, which are generally categorised as:
|Type of bank accounts||Highlights|
|Savings accounts||A no-frills, entry-level bank account that allows you to deposit and withdraw funds, all while earning interest.|
|Current accounts||A current account is a type of transactional (and typically non-interest bearing) account you use to manage your money day-to-day. You can receive your salary or wages into the account and spend money using your linked debit card or cheques. The main purpose of a current account is to use it as a mode of payment – through a linked debit card, online banking, money transfer to other accounts and more.|
|Time deposit accounts||Fixed deposits are low-risk investment accounts that offer a guaranteed return through a fixed interest rate. But unlike regular saving accounts, a fixed deposit account is only opened for a certain period of time, which can be as short as 1 month to over 3 years. During this period, your deposited funds will be locked in and you won’t be able to access them.|
|Non-HKD deposit account||If you want to hold money in foreign currencies, a non-HKD deposit account can give you a wide range of options in handling your finances. Different banks have different choices of currencies, and interest rates on each currency will fluctuate.|
|Integrated account||An integrated account consolidates all your different bank accounts under a single account number, including non-HKD deposit accounts. Such account type is ideal for those who prefer a clear overview of their entire financial situation, as well as a convenient way to manage their money from a single account.|
|Investment account||Investment accounts allow you to access and manage a wide range of investment vehicles from a single account, including stocks, bonds, unit trusts and IPO. Most banks also provide qualified in-house wealth managers and institutional-grade market insights that can help you refine your investment strategy.|
While complex savings account typically yield more interest compared to basic savings accounts, do understand that such accounts can be challenging to navigate. Before you choose a bank account, make sure that its features and requirements are suited to your banking habits.
How do you open a savings account in Hong Kong?
Opening a savings account in Hong Kong is convenient and fast. First, make sure that you have the required documents for signing up. These may vary across providers but you’d typically need to submit:
- Identity documents. Your Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID, permanent or non permanent resident) or valid passport
- Proof of residence. For example, local telecommunication/utility bills or letters issued by government bodies. For expats, the address in the original employment contract is typically acceptable
- Duly completed application form. May be submitted online or in hardcopy at the nearest bank branch. Now some banks allow you submit the application and open an account on their mobile app so no physical form is needed.
The sign-up process may also differ across banks, with some allowing for full online-based applications and others requiring a visit to your local bank branch. Moreover, you should expect to provide more detailed documents (e.g. income slips and investment balances) when applying for high-interest savings accounts or private banking relationships.