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How to open a bank account in Hong Kong

Your options are plentiful, but you may need a resident ID.

Planning a long stay in Hong Kong? A local bank account can make your time in this bustling city a breeze. Luckily, banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China offer account options, as do money transfer specialists for borderless transactions.

What are my options for opening an account?

The Pearl of the Orient isn’t as particular about who it allows to bank in the country. Most international banks offer accounts for foreign transactions. Though the process and required documents depends on your circumstances.

Setting up a bank account if you have a Hong Kong address

Required documents to open a Hong Kong bank account depend on how long you’re staying and whether you’re in the country to work or study.

If you’re staying fewer than three months, you need a passport, valid visa and proof of your Hong Kong address. For stays of 90 days or longer, you need a Hong Kong ID. If you’re employed in Hong Kong, you also need a letter of employment to prove your work status. And students must provide proof of enrollment.

With your Hong Kong ID card, applying for a Hong Kong bank account is as simple as providing a valid visa along with proof of your residential address — for instance, a bank statement, mobile phone bill or utility bill.

What is a Hong Kong ID?

A Hong Kong Identity Card is the official identity document issued by the country’s immigration department. It’s free to apply and offers easy immigration clearance and access to local public services.

Submit your application form in person at a Registration of Persons Office along with your visa, passport and two passport-sized photos to your appointment.

Setting up an international bank account

International bank accounts couple access to multiple currencies with lower foreign transaction fees and exchange rates. But most banks ask for large opening deposits and a high minimum balance for eligibility.

HSBC

HSBC is the largest international banking group in Hong Kong and offers an online application for its international bank account. Provide the following information to apply:

  • Government-issued ID
  • Proof of residential address
  • Proof of income

Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong

The SCB Crossborder account offers free worldwide ATM withdrawals and free international transfers among Standard Chartered Bank accounts. To apply, you’ll need:

  • Passport
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of residential address
  • Proof of income

Foreign currency accounts

Many online money transfer specialists offer foreign currency accounts — also called borderless accounts — that allow you to send and receive money among select foreign currencies. If you frequently transfer money overseas, you can likely find lower conversion fees, stronger rates and a more streamlined process than you’ll find at your local bank.

How to transfer money to your new Hong Kong bank account

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX
24 hours
$0

View details
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Dunbridge Financial
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours
$0

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on transfers to more than 120 countries.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally £5,000)

View details
Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE
Within minutes
$3

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From $1.99

View details
New customers send USD 20 to Lebanon and use code ADD10 for a USD 10 discount. Valid till 7 November 2021. T&Cs apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From $2.26

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Instarem
Within an hour
$1

View details
Exclusive: Use code GET60 to save 30 USD on each transaction over 200 USD. Valid for the first two transactions and till 30 November 2021. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Western Union
Within an hour
From $0

View details
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
MoneyGram
Within an hour
From $0

View details
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What should I watch out for?

Europe, Australia and US passport holders often can open Hong Kong bank accounts in a matter of days. For other citizens, the process can take up to two weeks.

Also, due to strict anti-money-laundering legislation, it can be challenging to open a Hong Kong bank account from outside the country. One way to start the process before you arrive is to find an international bank with a foothold in Hong Kong, like HSBC. That way, you can visit a local branch after you arrive to complete any final steps.

Bottom line

Cosmopolitan Hong Kong is a financial hub that attracts businesses, students and tourists alike — and applying for a local or borderless bank account is as simple as providing the correct documentation and funding your account.

However, if you need money when you get to Hong Kong, consider sending money with an online money transfer company before you leave.

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